* 1 91
^^p*^^^ ^"S .
m\ *' \ Cj
Niki Aukema 36
Des Beaux Arts
Mia Carter 4
Two Kids from Beyond the Sun
Rob Collechia 13
DICKIE IN MORTE TRIUMPHANS
Jack Dashner 8
Phillip Glaser 34
Loretta Sells the Piano
Brian Patterson 30
The First Time
Judith Morrissey Umana 6
J.W. Walker 35
Anderson Archer 33
The Declining Quality of Education in America: A Myth
T-K Bowers 7
A Man is Remembered
Stephen Coronella 5
Standing in the Hall
Homophobia: Then and Now
Peter Manale 10
Roy Mediros 20
Frank Afflitto, T.J. Anderson III, Niki Aukema,
Russell Folsom, Jane Gale, J.B. Gerard,
Stephanie Goldstein, Donald Kelly, Eileen McKinnon,
Todd Parent, Stephen Sadowski, Cindy Schuster, Walter Wells
Art and Production Manager
All Cover Photos by Gail Rush
Special Thanks To:
Hap Halligan, for front cover graphics
Bill Paradis, Editor Emeritus, for advice and moral support
Volume 5, No. 1
Wavelength Magazine is produced and financed by students at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Our phone
number is 929-8336 and the office is located in Building 010, sixth floor, room 91. All correspondence and manuscripts
should be mailed to:
University of Massachusetts/Boston
Harbor Campus 02125
Two-thirds of our tiny staff is new; before this issue was
plunked down on the pavement they were publishing
virgins, wondering how a magazine would be put together.
Many questions were answered by collective common
sense, some were answered by consulting past issues of the
magazine, and quite a few answers came from experienced
members of the staff as well as from the Editor Emeritus,
whom we lost to the job market just before the midpoint of
the semester. This situation, where there is always a new
staff which is learning how to create a magazine, means
that nothing ever becomes routine. It also means that there
is no room to be a cog, that is, for a person to be content
doing one small task over and over again in order to make
the larger machine function. The publishing process at
Wavelength is creative; there are no cogs here, and there are
no rules which are written in stone. Everything is always
If you suspect that this is leading up to the traditional
editorial pitch to "submit!" you are right. Some things
never change. No matter how good the submissions are the
editor is always going to feel that some talented artist or
writer is holding out. In the case of artists there must be
many of you who are holding out. There were very few
pieces of art submitted. (We did receive some fine
photography, but for the moment I am using the word
"art" to mean images created with the hands rather than
with the lens.)
If artists are worried that their work will not be treated
with respect, they should come over to the office and meet
Kerry Curtis, the art editor. He is conscientious, and
handles submissions extremely carefully. There is even a
special "vault" in the office, specifically intended for the
safe-keeping of art works. Artists also have the option of
copyrighting their work. Another excuse for not submitting
work is, "It won't reproduce in black and white." Don't be
so certain of that; the only way to know how something will
reproduce is to photograph it in black and white and see
what happens. We will do that for you. A final note to ar-
tists and photographers: we are picky about the reproduc-
tion and chose the most experienced concern to do the
repro work for this issue. Of course, it ought to go without
saying that published work enhances a portfolio con-
In the non-fiction category there are certainly hold-outs. A
good deal of non-fiction writing goes on around here, and it is
called "writing papers." There is very little difference between
a good paper and a good article. If you have written an ex-
cellent paper, chances are that with minor revision it can
become an article. Sure, getting the "A" is satisfying, but.see-
ing your work typeset and printed, and then getting feedback
from your peers, is even more satisfying. If you have a paper on
a topic which you think might be interesting to the University
community, then send it on over. If it gets here early enough in
the process of publication we will even help you revise it- -which
would usually be only a matter of deleting things which are too
specific; revision, for our purposes, is like a tune-up rather than
like rebuilding an engine.
We are always looking for poetry and fiction. Please do not
refrain from submitting because, "They would never publish
this." How do you know what "they" would publish? "They"
is not constant, and "they" is by no means a unanimous body.
Just as the stylistic range of submissions was guite wide, so are
"their" (the editors') tastes varied and divergent. For instance,
for this issue what was "obviously" a gem to one staff member,
seemed borderline to another. The process of selection was pro-
cess of compromise and accomodation to variation. So if you
have a traditional story, send it along. If you are experimenting
with non-traditional techniques, send it along. You never can
tell what "they" will go for, and it doesn't hurt to try.
For the last four issues a good portion of the fiction has been
refined in Jonathan Strong's Creative Writing classes. Certain-
ly no conscious bias in favor of his students exists, but after he
has worked with a student, the student's writing does, indeed,
improve. Whatever he does seems to work. Jonathan's stay at
UMass has come to an end, and we wish to thank him for his ex-
cellent work here, which influenced the quality of submissions
to the magazine and was, thus, a contribution in and of itself.
We shall miss his fine-line marks in the margins, and we shall
miss the encouragement he gives to writers who are uncertain
of their abilities. Without his encouragement many worthy
pieces of fiction would have remained in desk drawers forever.
We also wish to thank the entire English department: pro-
fessors and staff, and especially Niki. The magazine could not
exist without their continued support. Nor could Wavelength
exist without the support of SAC, and we are especially grateful
for their patience and understanding during the confusion
created by a mid-semester change of editorship.
The process of putting out the Spring issue has already
begun. We are starting all over again, and there will certainly
be many differences from how things were done for this issue.
Any new staff members will be welcomed, as will all new submis-
sions. If you feel that you want to be part of the process, please
join us, and please submit your best work for publication.
De Beaux- Arts
We must go to the show. It is my
show, my images. My husband says to
me, "The critics will be there. I hope
we won't get burned."
I glare at him. How dare you. I am
not a woman easily scorched.
We go. To the gallery opening. Im-
peccably dressed. He is nervous. Of
"us" getting burned. They are out in
droves. The arsonists. I mingle.
Waching them devour my images.
They do an evil dance around me, like
starved animals before the kill,
disbelieving that this is food.
I study a man studying a self-
portrait. Studying me. Shot from a low
angle. Off-center, in the diagonal of
the frame. Naked on the beach, my
mother scars, woman scars at the bot-
tom, in the corner of the frame. He
feels my presence, as he ought to. And
turns, and smiles, and asks,
"Where do you get your vision?"
Your vision. Your vision. The echo.
While he stands there echoing me, me
echoing him, myself. Reflections not
understanding each other. He between
the knowing reflection of myself. I
laugh at his absurd, foolish question,
and walk away.
The critics circle.
My husband comes rushing at me.
"Are you ok? I saw that man
Yes. My dear. My dear. I kiss his no-
longer-firm cheek. I am beyond
We walk together. Glasses upraised,
arms poised. Watching the arsonists,
the critics. His stride anxious. I am
floating, floating, not truly there. I can
hear the ocean on that grey, solitary
day. A reflection, an echo. I aim at
myself and strip, naked. In my stride I
am floating. I touch my husband's
arm, saying thank you. For your
asbestos care. We smile to each other,
old and wise, never breaking stride.
Our glasses upraised. Their amber
glow cuts through the air like a silent
We watch them studying my images
and stop to nestle close in front of a
particularly telling one. Watching the
watchers. The hair of his arm, my hus-
band's, comforts me, as it has before.
Spent nights and empty, anguished
days. That gentle, stubbly brush has
soothed me. We resume our stroll.
Comrades, once passionate.Now we
amble through the days.
Later, they gather, the watchers, to
question the artist. My husband moves
to the very back of the room, as he
often does. To shimmer me a steady
reflection. I smile proud and ap-
preciative. I answer the questions, in
as dignified a manner as possible.
Sometimes only saying:
"I have always been successful."
His strength shimmers at me.
A critic growls. Another follows suit.
My husband no longer leans casually
against the wall. His brows move
I purr, with all my charm and poise,
and all the rest. All of it.
"I'm sorry. I do not, cannot dignify
questions of the like." And smile, put-
ting my amber filled glass on the bare
cubical podium a gauche. And turn, a
He meets me, midway. As always, as
ever. His bristling arms and asbestos
care. I relax to him. My husband. We
move, together, towards the door. I
turn as we exit, to see the puzzled, still
faces, the motionless bodies, the
hunters, the arsonists, impotent
without an object at which to hurl their
fury. And it remains. The amber glow,
poised on the cube of harsh, immobile
white. Shimmering. Radiating. To us.
A final toast.
We leave, to face the red orange of
one passing day.
A Man Is Remembered
by Stephen Coronella
1 think about my grandfather often since his death. My
last memories of him are not pleasant ones, but they
are my most vivid reminders of this silent, lonesome
figure. He never liked to be involved in family gather-
ings, preferring instead the company of a television set
and a glass of beer. For most of his grandchildren, whose
visits dwindled over the years, he is suspended in one
unalterable pose - slouched forward on the sofa, beer in
hand, eyes fixed on the TV. He seemed hardened to the
life around him. There was one time, though, that I saw
him express a genuine joy, a joy so genuine that his eyes
shone with a tearful brilliance. It was when my brother
placed in the old man's arms a child, a great-grandson.
The boy was bewildered, the man was overwhelmed.
Using bits of biography gathered posthumously from
my mother and grandmother, I find that my grandfather
was an ordinary man. He endured a desolate childhood
and watched silently as two sisters and a brother were
sent to an unseen aunt here in the States. Feeding a
family of seven is hard to do anywhere, anytime, but it
was especially trying in Ireland at the turn of the cen-
tury. Tuberculosis stalked the family, and by the time he
came to this country in 1928, he was one of two surviving
siblings. He was also by then a married man. My grand-
mother followed him eleven months later.
A family gradually formed. To put bread on the table
and fuel on the fire, he worked an assortment of odd jobs
during the Depression. Each could be collected under
the same designation: laborer. His middle years were
marked by no small adventures, no brief wanderings,
nothing. From the day he first set foot on American soil
until the day he died, the city of Cambridge, Mass.,
defined his world. He never returned to Ireland, not even
for the shortest of visits, and rarely accompanied the
family on vacations. Time simply consumed him.
He retired at sixty-two, cut lawns and tidied hedges to
keep busy, and courted his drink daily. Earlier in his life,
he had turned to the bottle, as an Irishman will. For
many years until his death, it seemed his only compa-
nion. As my mother recalls, he could be sometimes cruel.
I myself can remember one particularly upsetting con-
frontation — between "the old man" and my
father — during our regular Sunday afternoon visits. I
like now to think that such scenes resulted invariably
from his drunkenness. A monotonous life, steeped in
hardship and neglect, no doubt contributed to his
alcoholism, but the old man was reticent about it all.
The unkindest cut of all, however, was the method of
dispatch — an excruciating six-week-long bout with
cancer which carried my grandfather away to a pitiless
end. We lost him in full sight, the sickness dimming his
consciousness until, by the final week, he was no longer a
part of the pain and the hopelessness that we observed.
Quite expectedly, I suppose, it was his illness that
distinguished him to me. For years I had heard my
parents speak of "the old man," creating in my child's
«*mind the image of a distant, enigmatic figure, and now
there he lay, old indeed and dying. My grandfather had
finally taken form, but it was too late.
I visited him frequently in the hospital, that is, more
often than I normally would have had he been well. We
spoke very little, but through his ever-sinking eyes he
communicated his helplessness, his utter lack of control.
He died at home, bent and broken, in a rented hospital
bed. If he had had his way, I believe, the end would have
At the wake and funeral, there appeared the usual pro-
cession of friends and relatives, of acquaintances surfac-
ing after long years of silence. But they came more to
comfort the bereaved than to reflect on the fallen. My
grandfather's life was of little importance. We all knew
He lay in wake for two days, and on the third was
whisked, in a numbing cold, to a place among the dead.
Though church bells pealed his departure, no one sent to
know for whom they tolled. My grandfather was leaving
this life exactly as he had entered it — with hardly
another soul noticing.
Mary Ellen Sullivan
The First Time
Boy, Gail thought, she made us ride
all the way over here and now we have
to wait in the car.
Being the oldest, Gail sat up in the
front seat. She watched her mother
walk away determinedly — tall, head
up, with a bag in her hand containing
the dress she was about to return,
while Gail, her little sister Lisa, and
her cousin Doreen, sat waiting in the
car with the kind of boredom only
August holds for young children.
It was hot in the big, brown jeep,
and a fat, old August fly buzzed lazily
around the windsheild. Gail was study-
ing her dirty toes while Lisa, standing
in the back seat, babbled happily
about getting her Minnow Certificate
in swimming class. Gail didn't par-
ticularly care that Lisa could put her
face in the water, eyes open, and count
her fingers. Besides, she'd heard it
already about a million times.
Doreen sat in the back seat next to
Lisa. Her pinched-up, bratty face was
bright red even at the very end of sum-
mer. Gail didn't like Doreen and tried
to avoid her if there was anyone even
close to her age around to play with,
but school was starting soon and all
the summer kids had left the Cape.
The local girls in Gail's
neighborhood were either much older
or much younger than she-a year or
two makes a big difference when
you're eight, so she'd asked Doreen
along for the ride.
Now Doreen was pouting because
she had to sit in the back seat with
Lisa. Well, too bad, thought Gail, its
my car and my mother, and besides
I'm the oldest. Gail always had to sit in
the back when her older brother was in
the car, and so she reasoned this only
Gail spotted a boy around her age
spinning himself around in a shopping
cart on the other side of the almost-
empty parking lot. Gail hopped onto
her knees on the seat and hung out the
driver's side window watching the boy.
He saw her at about the same time,
and his spinning took on new intensity.
He'd run as fast as possible pushing
the cart in front of him and then jump
on the front pushing down on the bar
he held so that the cart would spin wid-
ly on the two back wheels.
He pretended not to hear the first
two hi-i-i's that she called out the win-
dow but responded quickly to the
"you'd better be careful or you'll get
hurt!" she'd scolded after getting no
"No sir!" said the tattered-looking
boy. "I can go ten times faster than
this and I never get hurt."
He looked different to Gail from the
boys she knew, wilder, not cared for or
cared about. He was painfully thin
with dark, flashing eyes.
"What kinda car is that? Lemme sit
in that car."
'It's a jeep. Yeah, come on. You can
come in for a minute." Gail bounced
over to the passenger side and the boy
hopped into the driver's seat. He
began spinning the steering wheel wid-
ly back and forth.
"How do ya drive this car,
anyway?" he demanded, staring in-
tently at the dashboard.
"I don't know. You can't drive,
anyway. Stop doing that. My mother's
coming any minute."
"I know how to drive-j ust no t this
kinda car. Just show me how."
Now he flung the clutch up and
"Stop that! You better get outta this
car now. My mother's coming any
"You and me'll run away and get
married. Just show me how to drive
As frightened as Gail had become,
this was the first marriage proposal
she'd received. She was intrigued.
After all, this was what everyone told
her was the mark of success for a girl-
you got married. So no matter how
outlandish the proposal, she was flat-
"You get out of this car right now."
Doreen suddenly shrieked from the
He turned quickly toward her.
Crack! He slapped Doreen full across
the face so fast it took Gail a minute to
comprehend just what had happened.
She was fascinated. A slap across the
face sounded just like you'd expect it
Doreen's face was purple now, her
mouth forming a perfect " 0" from
which not a sound was emitted. Gail
felt no compulsion to defend Doreen in
"You sit down," he snapped to Lisa.
Lisa's small legs flung straight out
Continued to page 39
The Declining Quality of Education in America: a Myth
by T.K. Bowers
It is widely held today that the education of the American
public is on the wane, including the fundamental moral
and ethical training which has traditionally been assumed by
parents and to a lesser extent, churches. Popular phrases such
as "Johnny can't read" are constantly bandied about in the
press and a federal investigative committee went so far as to
describe what they saw as "a rising tide of mediocrity" in the
nation's public schools. As could be expected, accusing fingers
were pointed in every direction. Parents, teachers, students, ad-
ministrators, government, and society were all to blame, depen-
ding on who one spoke with. The question of what steps are to
be taken in order to stem this "rising tide" is now being
heatedly debated, as is that of who should implement them
once they are agreed upon. It is an issue which is in the
forefront of the media and is politically important, especially in
the light of the upcoming election. In short, no one is sure what
to do about it, but everyone seems to agree that education in
the United States is in trouble and this deficiency is reflected in
the general ignorance and apathy of the nation's young people.
I, however, number myself among those few who find sound
reasons to dissent from this popular view. I am, after all, a pro-
duct of the American educational system and therefore feel I
can speak with some authority on the subject. I've not only
been witness to but have actually experienced the incredibly
broad and in-depth schooling which is afforded one here. The
beneficiaries of this intensive course of study emerge into
adulthood fully possessing the basic skills needed to succeed in
their world and much more. Their moral development especial-
ly is carefully supervised and maintained by that excruciatingly
responsible and conscientious mentor, television. This is
reassuring since it is generally accepted as fact that the careful
molding of young minds is vital to the success of a civilization.
Through this wonderous medium our children become extreme-
ly well versed in the proper attitudes towards sex and violence
which will stand them in good stead as they wend their way
through present-day life in America, fraught as it is with a
myriad of temptations and inconsistencies.
After all, who wants Huckleberry Finn or
Moby Dick or today's headlines for that
matter floating around one's head mud-
dling thoughts in the middle of a hot Pac
Even the most casual of glances will afford the observer
many opportunities to see this intensive education in action.
Everywhere one looks there are young people engaged in ac-
tivities which can only further their development into good
Americans. For instance, there was the high school acquain-
tance of mine whose sensibilities were rightly appalled to see a
middle-aged woman actually insert money into a newspaper
machine which had already been opened by the man in front of
her. She could easily have removed a paper when the man took
Continued to page 40
Peter scooped up the last shovelful
of manure and dumped it into the
wheelbarrow with a practiced move-
ment of his wrists, then leaned the
shovel against the stall and backed
carefully out of the shed, pulling the
"Hey, don't you know you're sup-
posed to push those things?" Peter
glared across the corral at Colin, per-
ched on the top rail of the fence, his
fat, good-natured face dripping with
"Did you bring the wrench?" Peter
Colin opened the corral gate then
stepped back, holding his nose. "How
can one horse make that much shit
"The sonovabitch just does it to piss
me off." Peter liked the sound of it
when he swore, but he didn't want to
get in the habit because he might slip
in front of his parents, and he didn't
want to give them any excuse to keep
him in after supper for the rest of the
summer. The ancient animal, secure in
his years and privileged position in the
family, paid no attention and went on
eating oats from the bin in his wall-less
Quickly dumping the wheelbarrow,
Peter turned and ran it back across the
corral to where Colin had the garden
hose stretched it its limit. As soon as
the wheelbarrow was hosed clean the
boys attacked the four bolts holding its
bucket to the frame.
"Good thing I put penetrating oil on
these last night." Colin was smug;
Peter might come up with all the ideas,
but it was Colin who knew how to use
tools and equipment to carry them out.
"Just don't lose the nuts and bolts. I
have to have this thing back together
before my father comes home." Peter
watched Colin push the bolts into his
pocket and then pick up the bucket of
the wheelbarrow and invert it on top of
his head like a huge helmet.
"Your head is going to smell like
"So what! Maybe I like horse shit."
But Colin lifted the bucket away from
his head as they started across the cor-
ral towards the woods behind the
Dickie, the horse, turned one evil,
yellow eye toward the boys, picked up
one of his hind legs as though to kick,
then, as if thinking better of it lowered
the leg and emitted a long rasping fart
just as Peter passed behind him.
"Jesus Christ!" Peter leaped over
the fence to where Colin lay convulsed
on the ground with laughter.
"God!" That was better than
anything Quimby could do."
Quimby was Donald Quimby, the
smallest member of their gang, whose
chief talent lay in being able to gulp
air as though he were drinking it, and
then fart enormously. He saved his
masterpieces for a quiet time in class
where Miss Downes, their sixth grade
teacher, was much too genteel even to
acknowledge the existence of such a
sound. Colin swore that on some of
Quimby's best efforts he could actually
see the milk money on Miss Downes's
They moved down a narrow path,
and soon Peter held out his arm to stop
"The signal. Don't forget the
signal." Peter cupped his hands
around his mouth and made a hooting
"I don't know if that's too cool,"
Colin whispered. "Owls aren't suppos-
ed to be hooting the daytime."
A gigantic fart echoed through the
now silent woods, and Peter stomped
angrily into the small clearing.
"Quimby, you're supposed to whis-
tle like a bluejay."
"That was a bluejay fart."
"O.K., asshole, you're out of the
"Wait a minute, wait a minute."
The speaker was a tall boy with thick
glasses and pimples; the vaguest trace
of a moustache darkened his upper lip.
"You on his side, Gershon?"
"No, but we could hear you guys
coming since you left your yard.
Besides, me and Quimby got
everything ready to go."
Peter decided to forget the incident
in view of the fact that Quimby was
such a good worker and also supplied
some of the key material for their
"Did you find a suitable
projectile?" Peter loved to use big
words in front of what he thought of as
"Yeah, we got a nice round boulder
that weighs one hundred and twenty-
eight pounds." Quimby was very mat-
ter of fact.
"How do you know how much it
weighs?" asked Colin.
Quimby choked back a laugh and
pointed to Gershon.
"Yeah, and we're going to have to
buy my mother a new bathroom scale
too, you jerk."
"What happened?" Peter tried to
keep an appropriately sympathetic
look as he surveyed the mangled pink
plastic remains. Colin and Quimby
snickered in the background.
Gershon pushed his glasses up with
grimy finger and sat down on a nearby
stump, happy to be the center of atten-
tion. "Well, after we weighed the
stone, shithead thought we ought to
weight the counterweight too, so we
put the scale under it..."
"He was almost the first projectile,"
"Shut up and let me tell it! Anyway,
we put the scale under the
counterweight of the catapult, which I
might add was cocked." He glared at
"Yeah, but I thought you were..."
Shut up! I'll tell them. Anyhow, the
idea was for me to sit on the projectile
end and Quimby would cut the rope
and jump on, too. We figured that
since we weighed twice as much as the
stone, the counterweight would go
All eyes turned to "the project." It
was in the form of a gigantic saw horse
with a fifty-foot-long ash trunk balanc-
ed across it; Peter had insisted on ash
because that was what the book from
the library had said the Romans used.
At one end of the beam was attached a
fifty-five gallon drum filled with sand.
At the other end the trunk forked into
a huge "y." The midpoint of the trunk
was lashed tightly to the cross piece of
the saw horse, which was about eight
feet off the ground, and the four legs
of the device were buried deeply in the
sandy loam of the clearing. There was
a deep indentation under the
counterweight, where it had slammed
down, and a block and tackle — used
for cocking purposes — lay at the other
Peter was grinning now, too. "How
"Are you kidding? Gershon had to
go home and change his pants."
Quimby and Colin were stamping on
the ground in delight.
"Yeah, bullshit, Quimby!
Remember when you thought you were
blind from the napalm?"
"Oh God! That was pissah."
Colin had tears in his eyes now; he
was pounding the ground in ecstasy.
The naplam had been another of
Peter's ideas. He had read in a
newspaper how the heroic freedom
fighters in Budapest had mixed
gasoline and soap powder in their
Molotov cocktails to use against the
"Okay, okay, let's get this thing
finished." Peter was taking command
"Did you guys bring the wat-
chamacallit, uh, what do you call that
part of the wheelbarrow, Peter?"
Peter didn't like not having an
answer for any question. "Uh, yeah."
He paused. "It's the, uh, mangonel on
the catapult. I forget what it is on a
Colin and Quimby were busily lash-
ing the wheelbarrow's bucket tightly to
the fork in the end of the trunk.
"Think this sucker will shoot all the
way to the pond?" asked Gershon.
Peter tried to look scientific. "Well,
if my calculations are correct, it will
land somewhere in the pond, or in the
cornfield in front of it."
"Don't worry about it. It'll land in
the pond. Besides, my house is the only
one between here and the pond. If I'm
not worried about it, why should you
"Okay, Peter, it's ready." Colin and
Gershon lifted the stone into the
bucket and looked expectantly at
"Ready? Okay, pass me my sword,
"You mean the machete?"
"Look, do you want to be in this
gang, or what?"
Gershon picked up the machete and
handed it to Peter. "Never mind, cap-
tain, here's your sword."
"Maybe we should have a forward
observer," said Peter, looking pointed-
ly at Quimby.
"Naw, we all want to see it go off.
We can just walk along the flight path;
if we don't find the stone in the corn-
field, we'll know it landed in the pond.
Cut the rope."
Peter took a firm grip on the
machete, looked meaningfully around
at the other three and swung with all
his might. The bucket, with the stone
rising roundly out of it, rose about six
inches and then seemed to hesitate as
the beam flexed. Suddenly, the bucket
whipped upward, and the ground
trembled beneath their feet as the
counterweight thudded down.
The boulder was climbing, as if
under its own power, slowly turning
end over end and growing smaller by
Colin looked up at it pensively and
then made his pronouncement. "It's
going straight up. What goes straight
up must come straight dow--"
"Holy shit! Every man for himself!"
screamed Peter. Quimby was already
streaking into the woods on the far
side of the clearing.
Peter ran blindly through the woods.
Branches and thorns tore at his face
Continued to page 39
Violence Against Gays:
Homophobia Then and Now
"T\T umbers have dehumanized us. So begins Daiton
•*■ 1 Trumbo in the 1970 introduction to his classic anti-
war novel Johnny Got His Gun.
"An equation:" Trumbo continues, "40,000 dead young men
= 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain mat-
ter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will
never be lived... Do we scream in the night when [this] touches
our dreams? No. We don't dream about it because we don't
care about it."
While Mr. Trumbo was discussing our society's lack of con-
cern about the death of Americans in the Vietnam War, he
might just as easily have been referring to worldwide apathy
about the countless gay men who perished under the tyranny of
Adolf Hitler. Estimtes of the number dead range anywhere
from 10,000 to 1,000,000.
Such numbers are overwhelming. We cannot even begin to
grasp the total personal loss involved in such destruction. We
can look at Nazi pictures of the heaps of emaciated corpses
thrown together like kindling — but we must quickly avert our
gaze; the horror is too much to contemplate.
We can attempt to understand the gravity of this atrocity by
linking it with fictional scenarios. If, for example, deranged ad-
ministrators at U Mass-Boston summoned all students to a
"special meeting" and systematically shot each student upon
arrival the massacre would be close to the most conservative
estimates on the number of gay men who lost their lives under
These comparisons are somehow more palatable. The body
count seems less threatening. By removing our attention from
the reality of the past onto an unlikely (but more immediate)
situation, the totality of human life obliterated is less un-
fathomable. We can begin to understand the significance of the
While it is important to come to grips with the magnitude of
the destruction, another important step in facing the past is to
realize the humiliation and anguish inflicted upon the in-
dividual under these hellish conditions. Individuals were ar-
rested; individuals were tortured; individuals' lives were
abruptly disrupted and destroyed. It is only on this level that
we — as individuals — can truly perceive the inhumanity to-
ward gays at the hands of the Nazis. It is only by realizing the
agony of the individual that the number of men who died truly
becomes real for us.
Last year, my lover and I attended a local production of the
play Bent by Martin Sherman. Like the novel Johnny Got His
Gun — which proved to be an effective and moving condemna-
tion of war — Bent concentrates on the life of one man who
must hopelessly struggle against adverse conditions. The play
chronicles the life of Max, a gay man who, with his lover, is ar-
rested by the Nazis. On route to Dachau, his lover is fatally
wounded by sadistic guards and thrown at Max's feet. Max,
frightened for his own safety and with his life in danger,
disavows his relationship with the dying man. The guards not
only force Max to beat his lover but also to deny their "friend-
ship" with each blow.
In the camp, despite deprivation and the harshness of the
work, Max while posing as a Jew befriends another gay prisoner
who leads him to feel and love again, and to be proud of his gay
identity. Suspicious of their relationship, an SS captain
demands that Max watch as his new lover is commanded to walk
into an electrified fence. The lover instead charges the captain
and is shot to death. Max, unable to endure any more, puts on
his lover's tattered jacket with a large pink triangle sewn on the
front, which brands the prisoner a homosexual — and ends his
life by — walking into the fence. l
Sitting through Bent was an unpleasant and distressing ex-
perience, but a necessary one; the drama was overwhelming.
Not only did the play graphically depict the cruelty of the Nazis
against gays, but, more importantly, it emphasized the emo-
tional as well as physical damage of this unjustified punishment
on three-dimensional victims. For the first time the nameless,
faceless numbers, the numbers of dead, became real. And the
numbers could no longer be so easily dismissed or forgotten.
The Nazis implemented one of the most blatant and brutal
forms of legalized homophobia the world has ever seen: the im-
prisonment and murder of tens of thousands of individuals sole-
ly on the basis of their sexual orientation. Unlike the Jews, most
homosexuals were not taken directly to extermination camps,
but rather to forced-labor camps where, under deliberately
harsh and deplorable conditions, "the average life expectancy
for the prisoners could be no more than a matter of months.
The general fate of homosexual prisoners was to be worked to
death, or to die of brutality in the process. The 'surplus' of the
homosexual concentration population [was] deported to
Auschwitz. " 2 Exhaustion, starvation, work-related injuries, il-
lness, beatings, shootings, torture, suicide, and medical ex-
perimentation were typical reasons for death.
The Nazis did not invent homophobia;
they merely knew how to draw out and
manipulate this hatred for their own
The rationalizations offered by the Nazis for the persecution
and killing of gays were far from original. Explainations in
Frank Rector's The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals^ in-
clude the following: (1) Homosexuals are weak and effeminate
degenerates and thus a threat to national security which relies
on the brute strength of "real" men. (2) Homosexuals, because
they do not produce offspring, are forced to recruit from the
"normal" population of young men. The presence of gays
within the ranks of the SS and other paramilitary organization
poses a special threat to the purity of these groups. "Such a
man always drags ten others after him, otherwise he can't sur-
vive," observed Himmler. 4 3) Homosexuals who don't have
children are threats to the survival and continuation of the Ger-
man race. (4) Homosexuals who do have children must also be
condemned; inevitably they will pass along and perpetuate
their despicable condition.
By fabricating and campaigning against these "threats" pos-
ed by gays, the Nazis were able to incite the already-existing
homophobic feelings of the masses to the point that the roun-
ding up, incarceration, and butchering of known homosexuals
became an acceptable and moral solution. The Nazis did not
invent homophobia; they merely knew how to draw out and
manipulate this hatred for their own destructive ends.
A few psychologists (far fewer than those who are narrowly
preoccupied with the genesis of homosexuality itself) have
speculated on the causes of homophobia. One theory suggests
that the persecution of lesbians and gay men stems from the
persecutors' own struggles with supressed homosexual feelings.
To fight against these hidden urges, the individual strikes out
at a known homosexual. In effect, the individual attempts to
squelch her/his own feelings by extirpating all objects of temp-
tation. While this theory of reaction formation no doubt ex-
plains the motivations of some homophobes, it is unlikely that
all homophobes are closet homosexuals.
Other theories propose that homophobia arises within
societies that are sexually repressive and/or maintain strict and
distinct roles for men and women. By punishing individuals
who are accused of straying from the norm, the desirability of
"normal" traits is reinforced. Gays, labeled "abnormal,"
become easy targets. Society castigates them for reasons of
gender role as well as sexual expressiveness. This may explain
why sterotypes that all gays are frivolously promiscuous and
"dykey" or "sissified" persist — even with substantial
evidence to the contrary.
These theories may come closer to explaining the underlying
reasons for homophobia in Germany in the late Thirties around
the time of Hitler's rise to power. A shift in public sentiment
demanded a return to conservatism, both in defining accep-
table sexual behavior and in delegating disparate roles for men
and women. The higher status was granted lopsidedly to the
males. The glorification of masculinity as defined by the Nazis
led inevitably to the degradation of anything considered un-
masculine, e.g., homosexuality. By making scapegoats of
homosexual men who were labeled as sexual perverts and ef-
feminate the Nazis effectively stressed the consequences of sex-
ual and gender nonconformity.
And the consequence for thousands of gays was death. At-
tempts to publicize the Nazi treatment of homosexuals have
been impeded on many fronts. Homosexuals were a distinct,
visible group within the German camps, identified by con-
spicuous pink triangles on their prison garb. After liberation
this reality was — and continues to be — suppressed and ig-
nored. Historians have all but overlooked the mass murder of
gays in Nazi Germany. Western grovernments, in their
memorials and museums, have refused to expose the slaughter-
ing of homosexuals. While we seem ready and eager to
categorize the homosexual as a criminal, pervert, molester, and
a host of other labels — there is still a reluctance to identify
any gay person as victim. Some of this suppression, ironically
enough, comes from individuals who may also have been vic-
tims of fascist Germany:
Item: In 1978 a commission in West Hartford, Connec-
ticut decided that gay victims would not be acknowledg-
ed in a memorial monument to honor those persecuted
and murdered by the Nazis. Defending this decision,
Rabbi Issac Avigdor proclaimed that "homosexuality is
a sin in the Biblical sense. I am not out to fight homosex-
uals but I won't insult the Jewish people by placing
them in the same monument as with homosexuals." 5
When we examine the persecution of gays by the Nazis, we
cannot do so without addressing the destruction also wrought
upon other groups within Nazi Germany, most notably the
Jews. Their extermination far surpassed the destruction of
gays. While we must continue to vigorously examine and
publicize the effects of anti-semitism in Nazi Germany, we can-
not let this effort completely overshadow or diminish our ex-
ploration of gay persecution. Some would not agree.
/TIEM-Reviewing a book abouth the death of gays by the Nazis
(written by a gay man), a writer in the New York Times was an-
noyed that "some homosexuals -following a path well trodden
by other non-Jewish victims of the Nazis - - are now trying to
deny the unique place of Hitler's war against the Jews in the an-
nals of evil... A homosexual could obivously have minimized his
chances of detection by staying in the closet." 6
Oppression is oppression, regardless of the targets or the
body count involved. Surely in our information-rich culture the
disclosure of other sides of Nazi violence (including the killing
of gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, mental patients, and those
found to be politically incorrect, among others) should pose no
threat to the well — established fact of the Holocaust. It is un-
thinkable, however, that we should place one historical atrocity
in competition with another, with the assumption that only the
most horrifying will be revealed, examined, and condemned.
Oppression of all kinds must be fought at the source, not by
blaming the victims or by pitting victim against victim.
Adolf Hitler is dead. The Third Reich is no more. Yet, outliv-
ing all political regimes, homophobia persists.
ITEM: Following the overthrow of the Nazis, the new
government in West Germany suggested that a small
financial payment should be made to surviving camp vic-
tims as a token gestfire of restitution for their persecu-
tion. Such compensation, a sympathetic acknowledgment
of the suffering endured by the survivors, was offered to
all victims - - except homosexuals. Those gays who sur-
vived Nazi internment were still considered criminals
and not worthy of restitution.
While virtually no society today would socially or politically
condone the harsh treatment of gays by the Nazis, homosexual-
ly is, at best, uneasily tolerated.( A clear distinction must be
made between "tolerance" and "acceptance.") At worst,
harassment and violence against gays continues. The
homophobia is evident.
ITEM: Queer-bashing has become a popular sport for
some adolescents and young adults. These groups of
heterosexuals seek out homosexual targets (usually in ur-
ban, gay communities) and attack, maim, and sometimes
murder their victims.
In Providence, Rhode Island, for instance, a few months ago
six males, all in their early 20's, harassed another man they en-
countered in the vicinity of a gay bar. Following him, they
taunted him, "Are you a faggot?" Presumably the man was: he
was cornered in an alley and beaten up and thrown to the
ground, where he was repeatedly kicked in his face and
ITEM: Greg Dixon, national secretary of the Moral
Majority, revealed the depth of his hatred for gays in the
candid statement:"I say either fry 'em or put them in a
pen. Don't unleash them on the human race. ..I don't
know how you can ever get [society] to put these
homosexuals to death, but God's word would uphold
that. They which comit such things are worthy of
ITEM:"l think you lesbians are scum. You're the
sickest things on earth. You're the most disgusting
things that have ever come to Northampton," said an
anonymous caller to a telephone answering machine
belonging to a prominent lesbian in the Northampton,
A note left at a feminist bookstore was addressed "To all
homosexual groups: We as a community are sick of the threat
of Gay Life to our children, Families, and life in this city... we
are dedicated. ..to the 'eradication' of gays in this area. We will
root out and expel the extremist homosexual germ by peaceful
or violent means." A group called SHUN (Stop Homosexual
Unity Now) claimed responsibility for the letter.
Continued to page 40
Two Kids From Beyond the Sun
Rowan and Serj come from a planet
where time is subject to individual
perception. When these bright kids
first encountered Earth on the
Hologram Reality Screen, to their
dismay they found her to be a barren
planet. The Hologram Reality Screen
is part of a communications station
which can be found in every communi-
ty on their planet. This technology
allowed Rowan, and her boyfriend
Serj, to plug in films and tapes they
had found of Earth and, in this way,
create various realities. They began to
take their project a bit further, and
this is how they became outlaws. I
mean, Christ, she was thirteen and he
was sixteen and they were fucking
around with things like history,
holograms, and time. They were
blatantly breaking the law, so they
After viewing the film The Wizard
of Oz, they visited the Middle East in
the time of Moses. Now, Rowan pro-
jected herself as the all-powerful
Wizard, 'cause she found Moses
somewhat of a sexist, but Moses and
his people took the whole thing too
seriously, so they moved on. Then
Rowan decided to be God, and she sug-
gested that she and Serj travel apart
for awhile; Serj decided he was no
more than a hologram himself, and
took the name Holy Spirit with the in-
tention of pointing himself at earth.
They decided they would meet once a
year, and then kissed each other good-
Maybe the crazy Indian poet who
hung around the monument made the
whole story up to freak out the tourists.
This was 1953. Within a generation
the whole town would be mostly con-
trolled by Moonies. The Indian was
much more prolific and a hell of a lot
more creative than Reverend Moon.
Perhaps the Poet planted the ficticious
scrolls in the caves, just a mile or so
from the heart of Gloucester, Mass., so
he would have something to keep him
smiling in that dismal time. Could the
Jehovah in the Old Testament really
be a thirteen year old girl who walks
her Irish Setter across time? The In-
dian would talk of a colony, long ago,
made up of renegades from one of Col-
umbus's ships. The sailors, he said, liv-
ed in this colony with some Indians,
and these two kids would teach them to
talk to dolphins, or they would just sit
around in this grassy field playing with
the machines the kids had brought by.
Most of the time they would share in
story telling and teaching each other
about the way they lived. The dolphins
were great at helping them find con-
Things got strange for me after
meeting the Indian in Gloucester in
1953. The police came and took him in
and he left town, probably to disturb
the minds of tourists somehere else.
Anyway, I took the scrolls from the
caves and thought a lot about dolphins
and sailors and kids from outer space.
Indians and dolphins I thought of, in
comic book fashion, and took on the
religious ideas of the ages. I guess
those sailors didn't have the heart for
mutiny, so when Columbus landed in
Cuba, they somehow made their way to
The Holy Spirit moved along
through the heart of things, driving a
red astral Mustang. Very Zen, he
screeched the auto to a halt, pulled a
fresh pack of Lucky Strikes from his
vest and packed them abruptly on the
hood of the car. The Holy Spirit walk-
ed his German Shepherd to New
England water. He met God there, by
the river. As always, She was with her
Irish Setter. She never grew up, but
the Irish Setter did.
"He looks more like a wise old lion
than an Irish Setter," the Holy Spirit
Then she offered him a demitasse
cup, poured some expresso into it, and
cried, "You are the word man."
And he said, "I know. You are too."
Spirit lit a cigarette and watched
Autumn colorfully snatch every leaf
from every tree. The leaves changed
from florescent and full to pale brown
and then floated on the river.
Spirit waited there 'till God was
skating on the new ice--her Irish Setter
waiting on the bank. Spirit just watch-
ed. She skated over to him and they
talked about the things they had seen
and felt together, like the time they
had met that guy in Nazereth who
could walk on water. Then God asked
him, smiling, "Remember Lenny, and
the wild Indian poet eating peyote in
that upper room in the Village?"
Spirit paused, thinking, then
replied, "Yeah, we drove bikes with
Che, checked out the situation in
Bolivia right around that time."
And God got to looking very sad,
and said, "All three of those guys died
too soon: crucified by The Man. Oh
well. I wonder where that German
Shepherd went. She always runs off."
The Irish Setter was drinking the
water from the ice and snow that
melted behind the Spirit and God as
they walked away from the river and
headed across the field. The three of
them rolled around on the ground.
Then God and the Spirit made love.
God's dog was staring at the German
Shepherd that was making its way
from a distant wooded grove.
Spirit said, "It's getting late. Got to
drive back to the concrete." German
Shepherd ran to the car and jumped
into the red Mustang convertible.
Spirit said, "See you soon," and God
just smiled good-bye. Spirit put the
auto in astral and moved on through
the heart of things.
Snow beneath the wheels, causing
the car to slip. Windshield wipers
brushing rainbows. Sun on the conver-
tible roof. Irish setter, orange, looking
like a lion, eating food from the hand
of a forever thirteen-year-old female
God. God in the valley, the Spirit on
the highway, mocking time: eternally
sixteen, but he's only five in his heart.
Spirit's dreaming of the next year,
driving on base level knowledge with
one hand, the other hand lighting a
Lucky Strike that's dangling from his
lips; he throws the black lighter on the
dash. The Holy Spirit just smiles, puts
a tape into system, and whispers, "I
guess we are all on our own."
Spring Wavelength Contest
There will be a contest for artists, photographers, fiction writers and essayists. The win-
ning writers will be invited to participate in a public reading, and the winning artists and
photographers will be invited to mount a show of their works.
Deadlines rMonday, March 5th for written material
Friday, March 6th for visual material
You need not enter the contest to submit, but we will assume that all submissions are
entries unless you indicate otherwise. If you win, you need not participate in the public
Please leave work:
1) at the Wavelength office (1-6-091) of if nobody's there,
2) in the English department office (1-6) in the Wavelength mail slot, or
3) in the SAC office (1-4-181) in the Wavelength mail slot.
Photographers- -please write your name on the back of every photograph, and include ad-
dress and phone number with submission.
Writers- -we also need your address and phone number.(Poets- -put this on every poem,
Please do not submit your only copy of anything. If there is an easy way to reach you on
campus it would be helpful if you indicated where and when along with your home
She crosses the street
At the corner.
Caressing her sweater
Stroking the stares
That gaze at her symmetry.
We were not first
Not the first to notice
To watch thighs beat together
Our bodies thinking
Wanting to be elsewhere
Cocktails at Two A.M. in her flat
Tucked by the shadow of her outline
Light borrowed from a quartered moon
She is foreign to us
Accent carved by teenage lust.
We talk as she passes
Faces pressed against store glass
Stretched around the corner
Eyelids popped shut
Closed behind our need to judge.
T.J. Anderson III
Somewhere between February and March
Pegasus rode across the suburban night
With hoof-prints indenting the darkness.
She too is a refugee.
Just like the charging horse
Corralled by her fears
and has crusted sleep draping from swollen eyes.
Her husband sits in a tavern with friends.
Laughing in stained corduroy suits
And pinching a young girl's ass.
Marooned at her window
She waits for him, empty and intimate.
She wants to ride Pegasus.
Ah, but to keep the fire burning
And pass it on to strangers.
However, to her it's useless.
Whiskey is more likely to burn.
So, she drinks from a bottle, uncheated.
I phoned her asking to speak to him.
Said he wasn't in.
Told me she was tired of waiting on him
And dipping potato chips into sour cream
And having them crumble
Before they can reach her mouth.
T.J. Anderson III
Under the superstitious glance
of a green sunset
Cap'n Johnny staggers from
the wheelhouse clutching his
Dewar's and rocks and
belches the command:
CAST OFF YOU BASTARDS!
the diesel bitches, I
rush to fix supper —
corned beef, cabbage, hot
gingerbread and warm cool
whip. After the plates are cleared,
the galley scrubbed, I smoke
on the fantail as we rumble
through the Fore River Gut
into the open sea
The scow's fixed fast to
our starboard hip
loaded with five thousand
yards of slick grey mud
reflecting a three quarter yellow moon.
The clouds pile
on the horizon
and the phosphorus
awakens in the swells.
We'll hit the twenty-mile mark
about three A.M;
dump our precious cargo,
then I'll take the wheelwatch
and head us for home.
From my bunk I see
huge lanterns dangling
in the summer night sky.
Jarred from sleep, I
struggle to open
the watertight hatch
into a howling sou'wester
and the deck's awash
with roiling foam.
I slide on hip
boots and oilskins
— those snug steel
toes reassure me.
Steadying my sealegs on
the pitching deck, all
I can think is:
"I must get to the galley and
make fresh coffee."
the horizon for Boston Light
but it's not there
— only sheets of black rain that
stings my face as the panic crawls
up my back
When the lighting strikes
for an instant it's high noon
the city's under attack
— we're not doing
much better out here.
Over the wind
and thunder I hear
Johnny growl in the wheelhouse above:
KEEP HER ON COURSE DAMNIT!
I wonder if he's called
the Coast Guard yet.
Steaming coffeepot and
hot-mitt in hand, I inch
up the gaily ladder into
the wheelhouse, where radio
chatter and the glow
of radar comforts me.
Charlie the Mate snaps:
"Take the rudder — she's
heeling bad to port."
He snatches the coffee pot,
pours me a cup, then
they disappear below.
I lock my arms and grip the
tarnished brass wheel with
sweaty palms while Johnny
barks at me:
WATCH OUT FOR THAT GODDAMN
'B' BUOY ON THE SCOPE
The scow, now an empty pull-
toy, skids behind us on
a hundred-yard hawser.
Trapped in this half-moon terrarium,
just a speck on the ocean with
radar and compass for eyes,
I feel lonely and helpless
wishing I was somewhere, anywhere else
as the whitecaps keep slamming us
with cruel precision,
I flick on the searchlight,
aim it at the bow riding
too low in the water.
The squalls look like islands
threatening me on radar. I
track their approach, crouched at
my post, bracing for the grinding crunch
of steel and rock which never comes.
I am a pseudo-seaman! And
the rest of the crew is
SLEEPING THROUGH THIS!
The wheel and I are
one, my knees jammmed into
the spokes, knuckles whitening,
my mechanical eyes check
radar and course, my paranoid
mind distrusts them both.
We're twelve miles out but
it seems like a thousand.
I turn her into the wind
and my thoughts
keep sinking and drowning.
OF NATURAL CAUSES
(en nuestras barrancas controamericanas)
For us, the cause consistent with the norm
(thus, 'natural') is the garrotte. Wrists bound
behind, redundant stimata conform:
the welts where burning cigarettes were ground;
torn organs, lewdly twisted limbs, attest
that priapism complements their hate
(insensate else), and lends them ribald zest-
dull, vicious clones — picked warders of the State
The feral will — possession of the means —
(sufficient natural cause at Wounded Knee,
Chapultepec, My Lai) glut our ravines
with daily quotas of obscentity.
The Yanqui Congress (naturally), to build
Democracy, botes funds to keep them filled.
Photo from the exhibit "Terminal
CONVERSATION WITH MYSELF
the tulips are opening
in my living room
give to me so that i can smile
Amy taught me how
to cut them the best way
allowing for greater water flow
who'd have thought i'd grow
up in a world where you have to pay
but i'm so far beyond
after assuming responsibility for it all
give to me so that i can smile
there's a strong Bolivian
rhythm in my head
there's a step-on-the-gas
kind of feeling in my head
there's a young man inside of me
who can give to his roots, his class
and dare to advance
somewhere to take each other:
we can have government of the people
that will bring us flowers each day
somewhere to take each other
after jobs and respect
we can have flowers
MY CLUMSIEST DEAR
that cigarette from your lips
didn't incite my desire to know
of you rather
i'd suck your Lebanese saliva
from this butt dry
to bring back your family
i'd hijack a cigarette corporation
to bring back your family
i'd steal Winston-Salem, North Carolina
to avenge your family
overrun the graveyards
yellow marigolds in your hair
if your own personal dictionary
could eliminate the term "refugee"
if your people's status could be
defined by the term "free"
if dreams are for dreaming
here i come...
i'U work my tail off
and i will
and i will
You stumble through life in the wake of destruction
Leaving debris wherever you go
Your day is an eruption of minor disasters
And a list of casualties that continues to grow
A mumbled apology forever on your lips
Always late — No never on time
A spiller of drinks, a breaker of crystal
And a master of accidents sublime
Some call you clumsy, others — "a fool"
And some, well they don't know you at all
But I for one wouldn't trade one last stain
For the chance to soften your fall
Some steps, once taken
can never be retraced.
and so it was
that I became homeless.
because I failed to make this home-
because I did.
The best, I carried into this exile
left the better still behind.
looking down the street
there is always:
the long view
a surf-stretching Forward
and the longer remembrance
an undertow-pulling Back.
That gives no reciprocity.
And they leave me
with no place to return to.
A NAKED PRAYER
a bead of moisture
above her eyes
and the men
in loose priestly robes
My watch is a second
cars pass through the night
a chained dog barks
unlinking the moon
While God sleeps in a desert
my mother sews in thoughts of a child
my brother adjusts his hat
while talking to his son
And I sit
at the kitchen table
in a red dress
walking across Russia
along the sea
with blossoms floating
my hands touching an ivory tusk
my dress moving with zebras
in savanna dust
my dog barks
at the sound
of a neighbors key
and I stare at the confines
of red and white checks
on my tablecloth.
In print and spacing like my own type,
the letters smudged
on pages of no substance,
yours of this morning received, dear Ann,
The phrases shift through my closed, intent eyes
"accur a gran, no not am my
abetter to none yo one"
Changing to cursive script,
your message finds
the space accustomed to its countours.
I know how you move your hands,
I sense your pace
reverting to dream, I write on the same
lucent paper. My hands glow
in light attracted by my face.
A sentence forms, co-ordinate with
the body of your letter
"visium su um avlun screan
I nay..." - as much sympathy
as I can show.
Aware of its motive, regret half-masked
by nonsense, my mind constructs
its dream works, matches longings
I feel with yours. In deep sleep
I send them.
YOU ASKED ME NOT TO CALL
You asked me not to call
until late afternoon,
but I need to talk to you now.
My mind is full of vapor,
I'm having a frightening dream.
I know I'm asleep, time's balance
has shifted. Night is predominant,
its forces shape the day.
My body is a tangle, a retort that burns
the stuff that I see.
I put the receiver against my cheek
where ringing drops of music spill.
In efficient secretarial style
you give another number, mention
You read today's quote: "the science of mind
enables us to see
real human traits, out attitudes' sums
and combinations. This is the procedure
When your speech ends automatically
I listen for the tone. My ear burns
on the plastic
I hear sizzling, confusion, open wire.
BRIGHT SAILBOATS GONE
(The good ship Yulan went down in a fierce storm
off Gloucester, Massachusetts, on October 10, 1894.The
abandoned ship, half submerged, had drifted to Long
Beach by November 1st of that year. It is there
even today, its hull burried in the sand. After the
winter storms have carried sand from the beach, you
may see its bow above the cold waters of the ebb tide.)
N6 one enjoys the beach today. Unbroken waves return
Empty to the sand. Fog slips over the peninsula
And covers the slate grey water out beyond the reach.
Ducks huddle to one end of the marsh, moving like pawn
In an onyx pool. Pipers weave in and out of foam —
But the fury of past storms has sent other scavengers
Here before, wading to the blackened timbers, and others,
Yet others before, crying in the storm,
Cradling the old bones the sea washes over.
Loosestrife ruffles in the breeze, all the bathers
Done, the bright sailboats gone. Only the ones
Beneath the dark waves' tongue sail, silently
Holding their own against the water wind.
I felt it
before I saw it
At the playground
the kids chose up sides
— but no one competed.
On the battlefield, they
handed out weapons
— but both sides surrenderd, then
left arm-in-arm to celebrate.
the plants went on strike,
one night they just
shut off the power.
Sitting in the dark
you turned your back
— and I didn't even notice.
threw shades of black
of gnashing teeth
which chews up all
we hear you scream
threw open mouths
hands, toes, breasts
by tongues of fire
All life reduced
to the hollow bellow
of a beast
and what is worse,
guernica, you weren't the first
guernica, and neither will you be
It's a very personal matter
Why you won't find me there,
trapped inside a net of sky.
Face scraped by the window-glass.
As close to heaven as one can get.
Walking down aisles of skin and teeth,
Counting drinks, leafing through magazines,
The world opening like a valve.
You will find his shoes next to her torso,
and that is the only way they could have met.
Below, eagle and bear aren't speaking
Korean? American? Russian?
tell me which one do you become
after your skinned muscles swim in a sledge of sea?
traitor-breaths talk while they dig the earth.
their hands are tied behind their backs.
I is death that lies.
I see you in a free-fall, ending there.
keep us airborne, bring us futher
We wh feel the loss
We who utter the names
Two men confonted each other,
the insignia of a previous skirmish
marred one's left cheek.
He drew forth a knife.
The other followed suit.
The knives gleamed in the faint light
of the seaside bar.
A deathly silence shrouded the room
interrupted only by the incessant howling
of a distant ship's horn.
The glimmer of their steely stare
each waiting for a blink of an eye
a moment of despair-
The shatter of glass subdued the silence
drawing one's attention,
the scarred one lunged.
A gurgling sound
as the blade pushed deep into his chest.
Life, glistening red, gushed.
His body convulsed
and slumped into a heap on the floor
and moved no more.
Light shone on his face
revealing to all-
Steward Smith, cabin boy of the Bounty
killed over a spilled ale.
T.J. Anderson 111
Ma's fingers they pull
they are so numb they pull
potatoes out from boiling water
stick pins into each other
clutch steel wool
to scrub what's already clean
her heart it guides glues wings on
the prayer: Dear Lord
teach us to make something
out of nothing
the winding of ritual like bandages
round every spontaneous impulse
choking what could have happened
her mind holds
no color at all
now it looks
like a dying cactus
the money it came too late;
her mouth it
bites its tongue, then
the truth, the memory
of picking dandelions for soup
a bowl of weeds in the muggy afternoon
Wake by the steam engine's howl, by the iron and steel
Of the old railroad bridge
Shaken with the thud of heavy boots of railraod men.
Curled above the stinging sea, open your eyes
To the moss covered ledge swallowed halfway down by foam.
Wake by the iron and steel
Unseen, make peace by the shack with good railroad gin
Tugged frpm a tattered pocket.
Wake to the steam engine's howl.
Twirl smoke rings above the old bridge's back
Hunched and thickened in the chill
The grass wakes up.
One spring night —
peepers scream to life.
I love to smell sour
baseball mitts, scrape
infield mud from cleats,
drink morning sun with
the sports page, then
take that first
bare assed swim.
I am mad at summer
when it finally
arrives, because it
has made me wait to
lose my shoes, forget
my name, purpose
in life, and social
Summer's milky nights
get lost in the sky
and burn the steaks.
But wait, summer has
abandoned us, and autumn
depresses me, its frosted
mornings make my brain hurt.
Raking red leaves doesn't
seem to help anymore.
People bundle up, while
the trees get naked
I feel sorry for
Snow doesn't like me.
The only thrill
winter brings, is when
the air is crisp and
I piss a design in the
it sends pleasure chills
up my spine, I watch
the steam rise,
then turn slowly around
to make sure
— nobody is watching.
The pig lady visited me last night,
chuckled in my ear.
Blew fog all over my room.
Ate rabbits in the bathroom,
left a furry bloody mess in the tub.
She sneered at my palms over the mirror,
peed on my shiny clean sneakers
suggested I slit my wrists,
Her red eyes flamed,
as she heaved my typewriter
down the stairs.
I slipped into my sequined jacket
the purple one-matching tie,
Grabbed those barber shears
snipped a few inches
off her cute snout.
Tossed her out the window quickly,
into the swollen river.
Then watched her bob up and
I fired off a note
to my trusted attorney,
explaining my position.
Took a humble bow,
and thanked everyone for coming.
ACROSS THE SEA
I was born in a land
continually washed by the North Sea
whose flat, fertile miles
touching the arm of Germany.
I was three
when Mama's arms held me
crossing the sea
in an old war plane
it's weight falling
in the wind and rain
landing somewhere, in between
Europe and America
Mama was belted in the seat
airsickness on the floor
abov^ the level of the sea
still holding me.
at La Guardia airport
a heavy woolen coat
hanging on her arm
her face flushed
with Indian summer heat
looking down at me
pointing at the plane
the salt of the sea
shining on its wing.
I walked down
to Public Garden
at the statues of men
a boot, resting on a cannon
a hand, holding a rifle
arms, reining a horse
pawing at the sky
But, the sailor
Samuel Eliot Morrison
his long coat
breathing in the sea
looking at his face
expecting his hand
to reach down
and hand me a seashell
still warm with the secret
rushing in his face
Loretta Sells The
"Now don't pretend you don't
care." These are the words she offers
to him, thrusts at him, as he goes out
into the world. Tries to go out. Her
bulk, the bare hammy arms and the
bosom that seems to stretch from the
hall closet on one side to the other
wall, is planted, stolidly, in his way.
"That's what'll get you lost, Frankie.
You'll end up not knowing what it is
you really want." He shakes his head,
uncomfortable, suitcase in one hand.
"Ma," he said, "I'll be okay."
"I know that^'she answers. "I want
you to be happy."
"And I know that," he tells her,
laughing. "Ma, let me go, all right?"
With a sigh she puts her hands on
his waist then reaches up, gently, to his
collar, folds it under and lets a heavy
hand rest on his tie. Her hands go
down to his waist. Then up again, the
collar gets another unnecessary tuck,
the tie, the weight of her hand.
"Go get your bus, Frank," she says,
lowering her hands at her sides. He
dosen't know what to say, and for a
moment it is quiet. An uncomfortable
pause. He makes a move towards the
door and without looking up she opens
it for him, pulling it back mechanically
as he squeezes past. He stops, on the
threshold, the sun bursting in around
them and then grabs her arm, kisses
her cheek, and runs down the long
flight of steps without looking back.
She shuts the door, carefully, behind
"Albert!" she screams when he has
crossed the street and disappeared
around th corner. "Albert!" she
screams again, standing at the bottom
of the stairs.
"What?" a thin voice calls back to
her from above.
"Albert, get your ass downstairs.
Your brother's finally out of here."
"He's gone?" The voice is louder
now as Albert comes out of his room
and stands at the top of the stairs.
"He's gone. Now move. I want to
get that goddamned piano down to
Leonard's. See if he'll give me more'n
five hundred for it."
"Ma, I can't lift the piano by
"Of course you can't. I'm going to
get Phil from next door."
"Me and Phil can't move the
"Phil's going to bring his kid,
what's his name, Carl? I'm going to
give them twenty-five dollars when
Leonard pays me."
"Ma, I don't think me and Phil and
Ken, that's his name, Ma, I don't think
just the three of us can get the piano
down the front steps."
"Listen, Albert, you're going to
have to. I can't afford to pay anybody
else. You'll just have to find a way.
Now get down here."
Albert comes down the stairs, reluc-
tantly, leaning on the bannister.
"You'll be sorry when I break my
back. I'll be ruined for life."
"Albert, you were ruined for life the
day you were born. I'm going to call
them over here now, so get all that
music off the piano and throw it in a
box or something. What did you say
the kid's name is ?"
"Ken, Ma his name is Ken."
The piano waits behind them, pa-
tiently imposing, thrust half-way
through the doorway. Loretta is
sedate, leaning on one arm stretched
out from her body against one of the
substantial columns that hold up the
roof of her front porch. "It's the pulley
theory, Lasserman," she says to Phil,
who is standing on the brink, looking
sadly down at the row of tidy cement
steps stretching to the street far below
"If only you lived on some other
street," he says, mostly to himself,
shaking his bald head, the sweat
already glistening there. The hot sun is
right above them.
"You went to college, didn't you?"
Loretta continues. "We just tie the
rope to one of the legs and then wrap it
around one of the pillars here." She
slaps the column. "Then we lower it.
At our own discretion. Simple." She
looks at him intently, like someone
dealing with the retarded. "Do you
see?" Grabbing her son by one arm,
she pulls him from the shadows to
stand on the first step down. "Albert
can go in front to make sure the wheels
stay clear and me, you and. ..the kid
there can hang on to the robe at this
end. How does it sound?"
Phil just shakes his head. "I can't
think of anything better."
"Well, let's go then," Loretta says
vigorously, and she hands the rope to
The piano takes the first three steps
gracefully as they let out the slack with
care. Phil is in the front, sitting on the
porch, his legs braced against the col-
umn, the rope wrapped around it like a
thick, brown vein. His son is behind
him and Loretta is almost in the door-
way, leaning effortlessly at a dignified
slant. On the fourth step the piano
balks. The middle bottoms out, and it
teeters, the wheels whir frantically in
"Pull on it, Albert," Loretta shouts,
and they can see his hand slink
cautiously around the back and then
grasp the round wooden handle.
"Pull, for Christ's sake, don't pet
the damn thing, pull on it!" she shouts
again and takes one hand off the rope
to wipe the sweat from her forehead.
The piano, suddenly, with a grinding
rasp of wood on the cement, lurches off
the step and back onto its wheels, tak-
ing three quick feet of rope with it.
Phil shoots forward, smashing abrupt-
ly into the column, his legs wrapped
around it and his face pressed hard in-
to the chalky, white paint.
'Put your weight back into it, Loret-
ta," he gasps, his mouth pushed
sideways. "It's all we've got."
Below them, Albert's white face
pokes out from behind the piano. "I'm
your only son now, Ma, remember
that." Loretta leans back, both hands
on the rope, with an exaggerated sigh,
and the piano goes on like nothing
happened, sliding obediently down the
hill and finally resting in the street.
Like a car parked illegally, front end
up against the curb, it seems satisfied.
On the porch, Phil and Ken unfold
slowly, clasping and unclasping their
hands. Loretta wipes hers, methodical-
ly, then puts one of them on Ken's
shoulder. "You want to take the bench
down and put it on top?" She turns to
Phil and shakes his hand. "Twenty-
five dollars when I get back from
Leonard's," she tells him, and he
nods. "Unless he gives me less than
four hundred, in which case..."
"Twenty -five dollars, Loretta," Phil
says, still catching his breath.
"Twenty-five dollars if he only gives
you thirty." But Loretta is on her way
down, marshalling Albert behind the
piano when she gets there. "We'll take
it from here, boys," she calls to them.
Albert waves without looking up, bent
almost double as he puts his weight in-
to the piano, and it begins to roll down
At Leonard's they park the piano,
and Loretta rubs a finger along a crack
in the mirror attached to a bureau that
is sitting by the door. "I like this," she
says and pats it. "I might buy this if I
get more than five hundred for the
"What are you doing here,
Loretta?" Leonard says warily from
his doorway, his brown sweater wrap-
ped tightly arund him
"You look tired, Leonard," she
says, peering at him.
"I am tired, Loretta."
She looks at him, then nods and con-
tinues briskly. "Come to make a deal,
Leonard." She smiles broadly.
He looks at the piano. "Frankie
must have left this morning."
"Damn straight. You going to give
me seven hundred for it?"
"It's worth over a grand, you know
that, Leonard. You always told Frankie
it was in nice shape. And we brought it
down here. Saved you the trouble.
And"-she looks at him with a serious
expression-"we saved you the expense.
I ought to ask for eleven hundred, but
I know you, Leonard, you're a good
guy. You give me seven hundred, and
I'll go home smiling. Might even take
this old bureau off your hands." She
slaps the top of it.
Leonard purses his lips, and steping
out of the cool shadow of the doorway
he stands, his hands on his hips, and
contemplates the piano. He stretches
out a hand and presses one white key
down. The note that sounds is faint.
"You won't buy that bureau. After I
pay you you'll find something wrong
with it. It'll cost too much, that's what
"What's the price?"
"One hundred and fifty."
"And you got it for seventy five. I
admire you, Leonard. You got yourself
a business here, and you know how to
run it. But I'm an old friend. You're
not going to stiff me, are you?"
"Only give me six hundred when
you know you'll get a thousand for it.
You wouldn't do that to me, would
you? Give me seven hundred, and
you'll still be making three hundred
dollars. Not bad for storing the thing
until some sucker comes in and
decides he's got to have for his very
"I won't get a thousand for that
piano, Loretta. I'll be lucky if I get six
"Leonard, for Christ's sake, don't
pull your tricks on me. I'm a friend.
You can be honest. Like I said, I ad-
mire your business sense, I really do."
"Loretta, I won't get more than
seven hundred. There's no way I can."
"What do you mean, no way you
can? Make up a sign, Leonard, that's
all it's going to take. Write in big black
letters: this piano is worth thirteen
hundred dollars but I'll give it to you
for an even thou. How does that sound,
Leonard? Easy as cutting farts."
"Ma!" Albert has been sitting on
the curb resting his forehead on the
keyboard of the piano. Loretta looks at
"This one, Leonard, sometimes I
ask myself, where did this kid come
from? Is he really mine? I could never
understand Frankie, with his music
and all, but this one. ..this one's a
frickin' Martian. Shut up, Albert, turn
around and shut up."
Leonard is looking at the ground
and his shuffling feet. "Loretta," he
says, finally dragging his head up to
CM1 Painting by Rose Webb
look at her. "I can't give you seven
hundred for the piano. It'll have to be
four hundred, or I won't make any
"It's got to be, Loretta. I'm going to
have to sell it for six hundred. You can
come down and look at the price if you
don't believe me."
"It's my final offer."
"It is not." Loretta is indignant. "I
didn't expect this from you, I really
didn't. You're talking about a two
hundred dollar profit. That's if you do
sell it for six, which I find hard to
believe. I could set up shop across the
street and sell the damn thing for six
myself. Not even bother with you. The
middleman. That's it, I'll just cut out
the middleman. What's it like being a
"Loretta," he interrupts her weari-
ly, "I have to pay the rent on this
place, you know. I have to pay the girl
to run the counter. I have to pay for
heat and the lights, it's not going to be
a clear profit. At six hundred it will
hardly be a profit at all."
Loretta gazes at him heavily and
then turns to her son. "Albert, we're
going to have to take it up the street, I
guess. I can't get by on four hundred
dollars. Sorry we couldn't work things
out, Leonard. I still respect you."
"Ma. Where up the street?"
"To that Caldonie place, what's that
guy's name, Leonard?"
"Caldonieri." Leonard sighs deeply
and rubs his hand along the smooth
black wood of the piano top.
"Goddamn Caldonieri. Get up,
Albert, let's get moving."
"Ma, Caldonieri's is almost thirty
"Albert, it can't be thirty blocks.
Don't sass me. We can't leave the
damn thing here. If we start now we'll
get there sooner than if we wait until
you're all through whining."
"Loretta, it's at least twenty blocks
to Caldonieri's. You two can't push a
piano twenty blocks down the street."
He is shaking his head and he pats the
piano ruefully. Loretta is very grave.
"Well, I don't see what else we're
going to do with it, Leonard. I'd much
rather do business with you than with
old fathead Caldonie, but four hun-
dred is simply not enough for such a
"I'll give you five hundred. That's
it, though. I won't be making any
"I was hoping for more than..."
"You shut up, Albert." All right,
Leonard. Five hundred is probably not
the most I could get, but I understand
your position and I like to keep my
business in the neighborhood."
"I won't be making any money," he
says as he hands her the check. She
laughs and gives the piano a good
whack with the flat of her hand.
"C'mon, Leonard, you don't have to
keep up the game for my sake, you
know that. It's a pleasure seeing a
good businessman at work, but we're
Leonard smiles grimly. "I just hope
you spend that wisely, Loretta."
"Wisdom is my middle name,
Leonard. My middle name. Just this
morning, for instance, as old Frankie
ran out the door, I told him, 'Frankie,
don't you forget to care.' I told him,
'That's what'll do you in.' That's
wisdom, you know that, Leonard, real
"Albert, why don't you just walk on
ahead, I'll catch up." As he leaves the
shop she whispers loudly, "He's a
good kid, Albert, but he drives me
"Still thinking about the bureau,
Loretta?" Leonard asks her without
"Well, I'd sure like to, but with only
five hundred..." She makes sad click-
ing noises with her tongue. "And
besides-" she reaches out and shakes
the bureau as they pass it, "-the damn
thing wobbles." She shakes his hand.
"Thanks again, Leonard."
"Thank you, he replies faintly, ben-
ding down to examine the wounds on
the piano where it scraped the stairs.
"See you soon."
"Oh yes," he says, and stretching
painfully upright he watches her walk
along the street, her big ass shifting,
up and down, with each gracious step.
by Anderson Archer
Standing In The
by Bill Farrell
1am entering into a familiar, yet seemingly strange environ-
ment, even though I religiously go there each afternoon
after a long tiresome day. The entrance, as usual, is marked by
the presence of a green, colorful gate of tall, contorted, yet stur-
dy plants, grasses and a variety of flowers. I proceed onward,
observing the gradual increase of flora.
I am now about five hundred yards into the gully, cautiously
descending the gentle slope of the land. One can, without any
doubt, receive an extraordinary feeling of peace, both in mind
and in body, as a result of being in this tranquil environment. I
sit on a heap of green, soft, lush grass, allow my mind to wander
as I gaze hypnotically at the gentle swaying of the green leafy
trees and tall, slender, glossy moss. This hypnotic state is now
interrupted by the mooing of the cows that are camouflaged
among the tall grass. Sheep and goats now join in the chorus.
My mind is now fixed on this peculiar choir— the cows, bass
note; the sheep, the tenor; and the goats, the soprano. What a
choir! I love it, so I join them too. Bravo! Bravo!
My attention now focuses on the minute menbers of this
ecological system. My searching eyes spot ants feeding on bits
of food particles grasped firmly in their mouths and busily mak-
ing their way to their underground habitats. The ants seem to
be busily moving in different directions to and from one cen-
tralized location— a dead bird twenty yards to my left. I stared
agape, interestedly observing the mysterious ways of the ant.
For example, their organized way of transporting objects. No
wonder God said in His great book, the Bible, "Go to the ant
thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise." The activity of
the ant, though soothing to my mind, reminds me of the hustle
and bustle of the outside world. The grasshoppers, the bees,
and the colorful butterflies, seem to be sharing the same peace
and tranquility that I am receiving. As the sun slowly descends
behind the tall sturdy mahogany trees it covers the entire gully
with a liberal splash of tinted gold. What a refreshing scene!
The northerly section of the valley slopes gently down toward
ground level, exhibiting a sparsity of flora. The topography of
the south is steep and rugged with an approximate proportion
of sixty percent solid rock to forty percent flora. I can now see
the "Eden" of the gully— this gully. Here in "Eden," I see
dots of well dispersed colorful flowers amidst the green lush: a
spot of yellow here and a spot of red there. This "Eden" is a
magnificent work of fine art. The blending of the trees, lush
grass, rugged stone, steep and gentle relief with a splash of
golden sun rays, create a sense of peace and tranquility which I
daily find irresistible. Here I habitually scan the beauty of the
gully. My once nervously wrecked mind, now soothed with the
refreshing scenes of this environment, is now, once again, ready
to face the hardships of the outside world.
My Catholic school, Our Lady of the Multiple Orgasms, was
controlled and operated up to the fourth grade level by two
orders of nuns who were known primarily for their violence.
The boys' and girls' schools were seperated by an eight foot
high brick wall, topped with barbed wire and broken glass that
was cemented in place.
The boys were drilled by the Sisters of Brutality and the girls
were trained by the vengeful, love-starved Sisters of Chastity. It
was rumored at the time (1938) that both orders were members
of the German-American Bund, Stormtrooper division,
My school did not have a principal as did public and private
schools — we had a Commandant. I cannot say for certain how
many of the nuns had prison records, but I am sure that it was
more than a few. Sister Philistine, a huge, hairy brute, was my
third grade drill instructor. Her mustache made her look like a
truck driver in drag and I was terrified by her — constantly.
One day Sister Philistine caught me talking in class and tore
down the aisle after me. When she reached my desk, she began
to berate me. I couldn't stop looking at her moustache; it was as
full as my uncle's. She knew that I was eyeballing it and scream-
ed through her teeth at me: "What are you looking at!"
I was shaking and near to tears, but being only eight years
old, I answered her truthfully. "I'm looking at your mustache."
It was like open season. She proceeded to beat the shit out of
me, and when she was finished, she grabbed me by the ears,
threw me out of class, and made me stand in the hall.
If you are Presbyterian, you may not be familiar with the
term "standing in the hall."
Any teacher who saw you standing in the hall could take a
shot at you — as often as they liked. Standing in the hall was a
dangerous thing. One nun, Sister Severity, always gave me two
shots when I was standing in the hall across from her door.
Every time she went to the bathroom, she whacked me — one
going and one coming back. One day she went to the bathroom
fourteen times. I had never seen a person's hands so swollen.
They would not let me go to the bathroom when I was stan-
ding in the hall. I would have to relieve myself in Patricks Ken-
nedy's locker. He was the smartest kid in class.
One day Sister Severity actually spoke to me. She asked,
"Why are you always standing in the hall?" I was beginning to
feel like a restroom attendant. It seemed that every time she
went to the bathroom, I was standing in the hall. I think she was
having some strange ideas about me always being in the hall;
you know, like I was watching her. I did not answer questions
like this anymore, because no matter what my answer might be,
I ultimately got slugged.
It was ten o'clock and I had been pulverized twice. I knew I
had a difficult day of school ahead. I was tired, lonesome, and
missed my friends in class. Many no longer recognized me
because I spent so much time out in the hall. I was out in the
hall so often that they gave my desk to another kid.
I sat down on the floor and began to cry. I cried so hard that
by the time I heard the click, click of the Rosary beads it was
too late to stand up. It was the Assistant Commandant. He
patrolled the building looking for people like me who spent a
great deal of time standing in the hall.
I was slapped, punched, kicked and then dragged to the Com-
mandant's office for further interrogation about my sitting in
Continued to page 40
John Winn was still sitting in front
of his CTR at 6:00. Everyone else in
the office had left at 5:00. It was not
unusual for him to stay later, and get
more work done. He did so not for
need of catching up on work left un-
done; he worked harder and got more
done than anyone else in the office,
and he knew it. Every night, he con-
sidered the proposition of whether or
not to stay at the office late, usually
coming to the same conclusion: the
sooner he went home, the more time
there would be to find some use for.
And, although he was aware that it was
beyond the call of duty, he always
knew there were reports to be done,
marketing projections to be computed,
and plenty of success to be had.
He knew the thirtieth floor of the sky
scraper well: the coldness of the
overhead fluorescent lights, the soft
whirr of the ventilation fans, the cons-
tant hum of the computer, and an oc-
caisional rumble and rattling of the
windows, which was the result of a
wind tunnel created by the building's
architects, had all become very
familiar to him on his solitary work
binges. He appreciated working at this
time more than any other; he could be
truly alone, with the machine. He did
not hate other people, but he found
nothing in friendships. He was
satisfied being with the computer: he
could communicate with it, as it was
perfectly predictable, neither having
emotions to express nor challenging
them in him. From time to time he
thought about female companionship,
but he would usually dismiss the idea,
knowing he was too busy. Besides, he
could turn to his work for solace from
desire, although somewhere in the
back of his mind he knew it was no
He gulped down the last of his coffee.
The building rumbled. When he look-
ed down to type in some figures, the
words, POWER SHORTAGE/CAN-
NOT CONTINUE, were flashing on
the screen. He stared in disbelief. Such
a thing had never happened to him
before. If there was enough electricity
to run the lights, he thought, the com-
puter would surely continue operating.
With the resolve of an accident spec-
tator who decides to call an am-
bulance, he phoned the physical plant
office. "Sorry Mr. Winn," a voice on
the other end of the line informed him,
"But the power in the basement where
the main computer bank is has gone
dead. Don't think we'll be able to do
anything about it 'till the morning."
He looked about his desk to see if there
was anything that could be done
without the computer. Indeed there
was, but he was not attracted by the
idea of staying without the computer
at his disposal. He waited several
minutes, hoping that the voice on the
phone had been wrong, and that the
computer's power would come back on
before the morning. Nothing happen-
ed. He collected his jacket and brief-
case and started out.
It took what seemed to him several
minutes to reach the elevator. His path
lead him through the long rows of
desks which were squarely aligned
across the large room. His shoes made
a dense clicking sound against the
hard, polished floor. Over the din of
the firm's daily activities, the sound
was barely detectable; but at this hour,
it reverberated brightly throughout
the empty office. Looking down, he
could see a distorted reflection of his
body moving along the floor, a dark
shape against its glossy, clinical
whiteness. The hard surface ran into
the carpet of the entrance area, where
the cigarette and candy machines
were. He passed by the vending ap-
paratuses to the foyer, to find the
He pressed the down button. While
waiting for the elevator to make its as-
cent to the thirtieth floor, he looked at
the security guard, who was reading a
magazine. There was a plastic plant in
front of the guard's desk "Hey," John
said, "Didn't there used to be a real
"Yup," the guard responded, his
eyes still trained on the magazine.
"But it was too much trouble to water
it. So they put in a fake."
"Shame," John said at the bottom
of his breath, knowing the guard was
no longer listening. Suddenly, he
wondered why he had happened to
notice the plant, let alone enquire
about it. He heard a bell ring.
The elevator door opened; he got in.
It was empty, as he expected. The
elevator would move him swiftly to the
ground floor, from where he would
take the subway home. He watched as
the lights over the door, placed in
rows, one above the other, each with
it's own floor number, moved in an up
and down pattern. For a second, they
melted into one another, and he lost
track. The elevator started to slow
down. He thought it was strange that
anyone else would be in the building at
that hour. The motile light above the
door stopped at fourteen and the door
opened. Four women got in. Each im-
mediately went into the seperate cor-
ners of the elevator. John was struck by
the efficacy with which the women ex-
ecuted this movement; it was like a
ballet. He felt they were together, yet
they said nothing to each other.
As the elevator went on, he looked at
his watch. It was 6:15. Suddenly the
elevator started to slow down. And
then, instead of coming to a smooth
stop, it jerked to a halt. None of the
lights above the door were on. He had
not been looking at them, but guessed
that they were between the eighth and
ninth floors. He looked around. None
of the four women seemed to notice.
"Must be broken," he said, expec-
ting a reply. But they said nothing. He
walked over to the door and picked up
the emergency phone. "No one
there," he said, again looking around
at the four women. They said nothing
and expressed no interest in their
predicament. It seemed as though they
were all staring into the corners direct-
ly diagonal to them. But he noticed
that their gazes were focused on a
point before the corners, in the exact
geometric center of the chamber. He
shook his head quizzically and picked
up the phone again. This time so-
meone responded. "We're working on
the problem," the voice said. "Main
cable's jammed. Don't worry. Have
you out of there in about a half-an-
He hung up the receiver and moved
away from the phone. "It'll be half-an-
hour before they get this thing
moving," he said. Again, there was no
response. They were still staring
towards the center of the elevator. He
began to study them. Trying to
distinguish their visages through the
dead stares, he found nothing striking
about them. They were plain, dressed
in faded blue jeans and loose flannel
shirts of different colors. None had the
same color hair, but it was for each the
same length. All were of the same
height and build. And each carried a
pocketbook, again of the same style,
yet in different colors. They all must
Continued to page 3g
My film begins tracing a fence
aound a vacant lot. Background syn-
thesizer plays "I'll Remember April."
Plywood joins ground and air, dirt and
smog. The earth is thawing; the sky is
falling, tumbling in huge chunks as the
building is leveled within the fence.
Between skyscrapers daylight strobes
in shade and sudden illumination. A
highrise next door throws darkness on-
to its ancient brother. Innocent
destruction: life-sized tonka trucks
push building blocks in a sand box.
The anarchy sign is spraypainted red
on the whitewashed fence-no visible
life. But there among the ruins
something stirs. That's where Harry
Harry-Hare for short, as in rabbit-
has always been in and out of my life—
either and both, depending on how
you look at it. But he's hard to see.
You see, he's visible through the
mind's eye turned inside out. That's
one way, but it's kind of like a see-saw
kind of relationship.
Inside jokes? you ask. Yeah, all an
inside jab. Hah. You see of course. Or
do I need subtitles beneath the lines?
(Did you really see what you
say you saw?
Either that, or else you think
you saw it
But can not recreate it just
Memory can tell at one time
you saw it.)
Anyway, every night at dusk's
pinkish glow I would stop filming,
draw the blind, and shave. From a
heap of semi-clean clothes I grabbed
jeans and western shirt. Since quitting
as a projectionist I'd done most of my
time inside. That was months before. I
had to break out. I wanted to reprime
myself for the human race. I said,
"Let's go to a bar, Hare."
"Boots and a Roman nose," Hare
said. "Caligula. The decline of modern
western culture with civilization's
westward movement." These jokes,
these inverted explanations, ex-
troverted intranslations and what not:
me les amusais. I sometimes even smil-
ed just thinking them. But lately
they'd been floating farther and far-
ther out there. Harry was grating.
"Grate the right americian film," he
said. "Cheesecake, cupcake. Gel
babycakes." He was an idiot. For
weeks he compared our movie to a
Stooges' western: Moe has guns and
Curly shoots himself yelling
Truthfully, I suggested he imagine
himself as a leary fool to get him in
the head of his movie role. But he
became 3/D-death, dying, destruction,
I suppose. Saying he could kill his eyes
turned to steelies shooting for impact
This was all, as you see of course,
horribly Harry. I'd learned to ignore it
or not. When I was four he even
dissappeared for a while. That summer
we went to Stu Emerald's to see the
sea-monkeys.The ad in the magazine
Materialize before your very
I never saw them-paid a nickel into
Stuey's sweaty palm to see an envelope
of dust mixed with water. Stu and the
rest felt ripped-off. Hare told me he
saw the monkeys. I told him that was
because he didn't put a nickel in. You
see, I saw by then that other kids could
not see Harry. That's why he could see
the sea-monkeys. "See monkeys,"
Leaving the apartment I'd had it
with Harry-existential star or not.
(Joke, right? See the movie
"The Action Pack"
For clues to mankind
throughout the. ages)
"Repellent," I said. "You're a
"Repellet," Hare said. "Repellets,
yank the lever, yank it again. Repay-
ment of the pavement." We passed a
bum. Harry made sure I saw him-his
turbaned or bandaged head on the
door stoop. "Look at that," Hare said.
Continued to page 38
She was thirteen. He was the social
worker's husband. He let Maggie drive
his red convertible on the isolated road
behind the dump, breathing in her
face, his hands over hers on the steer-
ing wheel. She told him she knew how
to drive, her Uncle Jason taught her
last summer, in the field behind the
barn. He said, "Well, I don't want to
take any chances." He put his hand on
her thigh. She wished she hadn't worn
shorts. He said, "You've got a heavy
foot, slow down."
Maggie remembered his footsteps
coming up the stairs, the door open-
ing. She closed her eyes tight as his
Weight began sinking into the side of
the bed, bending over, whispereing,
"Wake up, wake up," till her ear
began to itch. Then the match would
strike, the first cigarette of the morn-
ing, blowing smoke over her head. His
hand running over her back, then stop-
ping and pressing hard. She had
wanted to scream but didn't. She roll-
ed over and pulled the sheet over her
eyes, pretending to be asleep. He sat
smoking one cigarette after another,
clearing his throat, waiting for her to
The social worker bought her
clothes that were too big. She would
open up the dictionary and quiz her on
the meaning of words, had her write
them out big and clear, saying "I can't
believe they never taught you that."
At night they both sat watching t.v.,
watching her, saying the most impor-
tant thing is an education, you'll never
get that back home and it must be ter-
rible being stuck in the middle of
nowhere without a phone and isn't it
nice having a t.v.
He bought Maggie candy and gave
her a dollar bill every time she washed
his car. After his wife had gone to
work, he'd sit in the kitchen talking
about Mrs. Gronski, who lived five
houses down, how the hairs on her nip-
ples were black but her hair was blond,
how Linda, the girl next door, a year
older than her, was a hot bitch who
walked like she wanted something bet-
ween her legs. Maggie didn't say
anything. Just waited and waited for
him to go. He didn't have to be at work
till ten thirty.
One day he was sitting in the living
room watching t.v. before going to
work. Maggie was washing dishes. He
said, "Come here...do this..does it feel
good?" She said "No." She didn't feel
a thing. "Come here." She sat on his
lap, looking out the picture window.
Cars went by. She wanted to cry but
She stole twenty-five dollars that was
lying in the jewelry box on top of the
dresser in their bedroom. Left a note,
thanks, I'm going home. She sat on the
porch, back home, watching the dust
rise above the trees, counting the cars
go by. Usually five a day, six counting
the mailman. The social worker wrote.
They were building a swimming pool
in the back yard, that it was okay about
the money, and if she wanted to come
back let them know, they'd send her
the bus fare.
Maggie wrote and got the money &
week later. On Saturday, a neighbor,
Nat Meadows gave her and Aunt Jessie
a ride into town. She walked into Son-
ny's Appliance and bought a radio
while her aunt was buying groceries at
the A&P. On the way back home Aunt
Jessie asked her what she had in the
bag. She said a radio.
"A radio! Why honey, where'd you
get the money?"
"The social worker from Richmond
give it to me..."
"Well, why didn't you tell me she
gave you money. I barely got enough
for the two of us and you go out and
buy a radio." Aunt Jessie looked at
Nat and said, "Well, what do you
think about that?" He smiled and kept
his eyes on the road trying to miss the
potholes. "Next week you go back and
return the radio. Honey, we can't af-
ford no radio."
Maggie felt the heat prickling at her
skin and broke out in tears. "Why.'
can't we have a radio, everybody else
has got a radio." Her aunt turned
around looking at her in the back seat.
"I never should of sent you to Rich-
mond while your uncle was sick. Ever
since you came back from there you've
been wantin' things. What I don't
understand is why you came back so
soon after they were so nice buying
you clothes and all. Next week the
radio goes back." Maggie looked out
the window biting her lip, trying to
stop crying, holding onto the radio in
The car pulled into the dirt driveway
and stopped behind Uncle Jason's car.
She opened the car door and ran into
the house holding the radio in her
arms. Aunt Jessie looked at the car,
sighed, her voice low. "I wish her un-
cle was here. They got along so good.
He'd know what to do."
Nat put his hand on her shoulder.
Now don't you worry. She's just young,
that's all. They're always wantin'
Aunt Jessie began shaking her head
as she opened the car door. "I never
should have sent her to Richmond. I
should have kept her right here with
me for Jason's funeral. But then Mr.
Holmes at the church said they were
nice people. I don't know. She just
ain't been the same since she's come
Nat took the groceries out of the
trunk. "You decided what you're go-
ing to do with Jason's car yet?"
She looked at the car again. "Seems
kind of useless just sittin' there don't
it, and me not bein' able to drive."
He handed her a bag of groceries.
"It's a good car. I could get you six
hundred for it easy."
Aunt Jessie looked at him, confused.
"Well, I don't know. I was thinkin I'd
try to hang on to it. Keep it for Mag-
gie, till she can get her license. She
already knows how to drive it."
They walked to the front of the
house. "Well, you just think about it.
No rush." He opened the screen door.
Suddenly they heard a man's voice
talking and then music coming from
inside the house. They looked at each
other, startled, and then smiled,
remembering the radio.
They walked into the kitchen put-
ting the groceries on the counter. Aunt
Jessie stopped and listened. "I always
like reading better than the radio."
She looked at Nat standing at the
table. "Why don't you sit down and
have some ice tea before you go?"
He wiped his forehead with the back
of his hand and sat down. "That'd be
"Maggie's mama loved music, would
sit and play the piano for hours. Drove
my daddy to where he nailed the part
that slides over the keys shut. Course
she played by ear, never had no
lessons." She walked to the icebox,
taking out a lemon, cut it and handed
Nat a piece and sat down. "That was
when we lived in the old Sutter house.
They left it there cause it was too
heavy to move." Her mama was six
then, I remember I was twenty-one,
had just gotten engaged to Jason. She
headed straight for that piano, started
laughin' and bangin' away on them
keys." She looked at Nat's glass. "You
want some more ice? Melts fast in this
"No, this is fine."
"Funny what you remember. I just
can't forget that look on her face all
white and tired the day Jason and I
took her to the hospital. Six months
later, she's gone. Leukemia."
Nat finished his tea. He got up. The
chair made a scraping noise on the kit-
chen floor. The radio upstairs got
louder. "You hear any more from
"He's still workin' in a lumber mill
in Seattle. I get a check now and
"Well, I better get goin', and don't
you worry bout Maggie. She'll be
okay." She walked to the door.
"I'll stop by next Saturday to see if
you need anything." She thanked him
and closed the screen door. On the way
back to the kitchen she stopped at the
bottom of the stairs listening to the
music coming from Maggie's room.
She heard a high clear voice singing
with a deep one.
She sat at the table drinking the rest
of the ice tea. Tonight she'd write a let-
ter to the social worker sayin' she
didn't approve of them giving Maggie
money and that she'd pay them back
when she could. She got up and started
putting the groceries away and then
sat back down, looking out the window
at Jason's car and listening to Maggie
sing, trying to think what Jason'd do.
He'd let her have the radio. For a se-
cond she thought she saw him bending
over, polishing the chrome on the
bumper of the car. She caught her
breath, let it out slowly, and got up to
put the rest of the groceries away«
Continued from page 34
be from the same milieu, he thought.
He resolved that they were from the
dance school, which was on the four-
teenth floor. Their silence irritated
He sat down on the floor, his back
against the wall opposite the two steel
doors. He looked up at the four
women. He found them very banal, yet
was also facinated by them — which he
did not understand. His inability to
comprehend his facination perturbed
him. He had always been compelled to
understand completely everything
around him, and felt out of control
unless he did.
It occured to him that the four
women were all very similar. It was un-
canny. Despite their different colored
shirts and different colored hair, each
of their faces had the same ap-
pearence. He looked at one, and then
moved on to another, and another.
Several times, he went around in a cir-
cle, examining them. He found himself
losing track of which was which. They
all melted together. All at once, a
strange feeling came over him. It was
as if there were some kind of ritual
happening around him. Yet it was
below his world, below his understan-
ding. He felt nervous. Then, he realiz-
ed that he had been working straight
since 7:00 that morning; and had done
so every day that week; and had done
the same every week before that, for at
least as long as he had been working.
He hence attributed the strange feel-
ings to fatigue. He looked at his watch.
It was 6:30.
Out of the darkness came singing
voices. He was floating and felt relax-
ed, more relaxed than he could ever
remember feeling. The voices came
closer; and although not sure of who or
what they were, he knew they were
there to help him, feeling more and
more safe as they approached. Soon,
out of the complete darkness, he
distinguished, although not brightly il-
luminated, plain and clear, a halo of
softish white light surrounding each of
the four women. They came close,
stopped, said nothing, and stared at
him. Before he was aware of it, they
were dancing around him in a circle.
He began floating upwards* high, out
of the circle.
Still moving upwards, he looked
below, and could not see them
anymore. Yet he felt they were still
there. He now knew they were within
He suddenly stopped floating. He
felt a vacuum pulling him forward. He
began moving very fast. A vertical
sliver of light was ahead. It began to
widen, the light becoming brighter. As
he came toward it, the vacuum lessen-
ed in force, and he slowed down. He
went forward with anticipation. He was
"Hey, you all right, pal?" he heard.
He opened his eyes to see a man stan-
ding over him. "Yes," he said,
disoriented, "I was just sleeping." He
looked forward and saw that the
elevator doors were open. It was the
"Where are they?" he asked
"Those four women."
"They walked out when the doors
"Oh," he said, sadly.
"You all right?" the man asked,
"Yes, I'm all right." He got up.
Once on his feet, he began to walk out
of the elevator. "Hey, don't forget
your brief case," the man said, almost
"Oh...Yes...Thanks." He felt dazed.
"Have a good night."
"You too," John said.
He walked towards the revolving
doors on the other side of the lobby. As
he proceeded, his feet made the same
sound and his body the same reflec-
tion against the floor as they had in the
office, thirty flights up. But he did not
pay any attention to either
phenomenon. Instead, he kept his gaze
focused on the revolving doors, and
the late afternoon June sunlight
beyond. He reached the doors and
He looked around. It was warm.
There was little traffic, so he could
hear some birds in the trees above
him. Impulsively, he walked towards
one of the trees. They were man-
planted and manicured, but they were
real. I need to get out of the city, he
thought to himself as he approached
the tree, I haven't been out of the city
in years. When he reached the tree, he
stood and stared at it. He was amazed
to think that he had been walking in
and out of the skyscraper for so long
and had never stopped to look at the
trees. When he looked upwards, he
could see through the branches, as
much as two large buildings which
almost blocked it would allow, the
sunset, its orange and red mixing with
the translucent green leaves of the
tree. After several minutes he started
home. He had been planning to take
the subway; but he decided to walk.
Continued from page 35
"Mystic. Amnesia." I looked away.
"Look back there," Harry said. I ig-
nored him; words were sixshooters, liv-
ing the ammo. We were still playing
cowboys and indians. "There, can you
see him?" Hare crouched to the crack
between sidewalk and fence, watching
and waiting. Then a whack pierced
the night. At first I thought someone
had been killed. Harry could not have
made the sound. The fence was shak-
"There's millions back there.
"Go join them, then," I yelled. He
had stopped. "Join them then"
echoed. A woman scurried from cab to
building; she did not look at Harry,
staring up from the ground. I turned to
the white fence, peering into the lot of
jagged bricks, and the dolls, their arms
and splintered furniture scattered.
Over them swarmed a pack of rats.
I froze. Sometimes when we've been
drinking we start fake fights. Hare was
stalking me. Resting tensely against
the fence, I waited. I spun around, an-
ticipating a punch, but no one was in
sight. The trash-filled streets were va-
cant and quiet, yet from the stillness
came laughter broken by the wind.
Harry was in the shadows. I could not
see him--I had never--I knew. He was
out there. Streetlights rattled,
something rustled by the fence. I rush-
ed it and fired into the darkness I saw,
that was all I could see. And Hare was
gone--not there to be seen. I balanced
on my boot-heel uneasily: I was stan-
ding on a dead rat.
Continued from page 9
and arms; his breath was labored, and
his side had a sharp pain. "Oh, Cod,
please don't let it land on me. Oh G--"
Peter ran over the edge of the railroad
cutting and crashed on all fours onto
the crushed stone ballast at the edge of
the tracks. Instantly, an enormous
weight crashed onto his back, driving
him into the ground, which seemed to
explode in his face like a great flash.
"Are you okay?" It was Colin's
"Ahhhh-" answered Peter, trying
to suck air into his paralyzed lungs.
"Jesus, I didn't mean to land on
you, but you just disappeared right in
front of me and..."
"I'm.. .going.. .to... kill.. .you," wheez-
"You wet your pants."
"No, I didn't. You squeezed it out
of me. It's not the same thing at all."
Peter was trying to sit up.
Colin pulled his knees up under his
chin and began to chuckle; soon Peter
joined him. and then they howled. And
pounded the ground. And rolled. And
then Peter remembered.
"My house! Oh God! If it hit my
house, I'm dead."
They scrambled back up the em-
bankment and ran through the woods
to the clearing, pulling to a stop pan-
ting when they saw Gershon sitting on
the stump inspecting a cut knee.
"I fell over the block and tackle. I
figured I was dead anyway, so I just
laid there. I heard a big crash over by
your yard, Peter."
"That's it! I'm dead. I'll just run
away and get a job picking tobacco or
"It's not that bad," said Quimby,
strolling in on the path that led to
Peter's house. "It landed on Dickie's
shed and wrecked part of it."
Peter began to recover immediately.
"We can get that fixed before my
father gets home!"
"That's not all, Peter." Quimby
hesitated. "Dickie's dead."
"Oh God! That's worse than hitting
the house. My father's had that horse
for thirty-eight years."
"There '8 not a mark on him. I think
he had a heart attack from the noise."
Gershon and Colin eyed each other
nervously, as though they might bolt
"Wait a minute, everyone! Let's get
this thing taken apart and hidden, and
I'll try to think about what to tell my
The boys fell to work with axe and
spade and machete, and in an hour the
only trace of the great project was four
evenly spaced holes in the middle of
"Come up with your story yet?" ask-
ed Gershon, biting a blister on the
palm of his hand.
"No. Look, you guys go home, and if
anybody asks, you were fishing over at
the pond all day, okay?"
Quimby and Gershon looked reliev-
ed. "Okay, Peter. Good luck, huh?"
"Want me to come with you,
"Naw. Thanks anyway, Colin. I'll
give you a call tonight if I'm still
Peter marched manfully down the
trail to his house, back straight, hands
at his sides. Getting the bucket back
wasn't important now. Emerging from
the woods he saw the wreckage of the
shed. The great stone was partially
wrapped in galvanized steel roofing.
Dickie was on the far side of the shed;
his front legs had buckeled under him,
and his neck was stretched over them.
One great eye seemed to stare at Peter,
and the aged yellow teeth were bared
in a malicious grin.
"Asshole horse!" Peter screamed.
"I shovel your shit for the whole sum-
mer, and you do this to me! why
weren't you out walking around or
something?" The horse continued to
stare and grin.
Peter heard the sound of a car in
front of the garage and at the same ins-
tant the idea came to him. It was all he
could do to keep from racing across
the yard and around the garage to the
driveway. Instead, he came mournfully
around the corner into his father's
sight, head down, hands in his pockets.
"Hey, kiddo! What are you up to?"
His father always greeted him the
same way. The stock answer was, "Oh,
about five three," or whatever Peter's
height was at that particular moment.
"Bad news, Dad," Peter intoned
Mr. Weaver's eyes flickered quickly
over Peter, "what's wrong, son?"
"I may as well tell you right out,
Dad. Dickie is dead." Peter paused.
"He was frightened to death by a
Continued from page 6
from under her, and she landed with a
soft plop on the seat.
Gail's face felt all pins and needles
as the blood rushed to her head. Her
heart was pounding and her voice
quiet and wavery. "No kidding. My
mother's coming any minute. You bet-
ter go. She'll be mad if you're here
when she comes back."
"No!" You and me are running
away from here and getting married.
Just show me how this car works."
"Is there a problem here?"
Everyone in the car was taken by
suprise. They hadn't noticed the elder-
ly man approach the car, and for a
minute nobody spoke. Then the girls
all started at once.
"He wants to drive...."
"He hit me...."
"My mama's comin...."
The boy pushed the car door open
violently, knocking the old man off
balance, and took off across the park-
ing lot like a shot. They all watched
"Here's Mama!" cried Lisa.
Gail's mother ran toward the car.
"What's the matter? What's happen-
Doreen chose this moment to bust in
long, loud sobs.
Gail recounted the event, and in the
telling the boy grew bigger and
stronger and meaner by the minute. It
had been a frightening experience -
-Doreen's sobbing verified that - - but
it was also a golden opportunity to
make her mother feel really bad about
leaving them in the car. The old man's
presence only added to her mother's
"I only left them for a few minutes,"
her mother explained to the man.
"No, you didn't," countered Gail.
Her mother's look told her to be
quiet. She listened as her mother
thanked the man for his help and as
she tried to calm Doreen down.
Her mother took her keys from her
bag and started the car. Doreen and
Lisa now gave their versions of the
story, each trying to out do the other in
making the boy seem most terrible.
As they drove onto the street, Gail
saw him, thin as a reed, standing in the
bushes at the edge of the lot. He didn't
move, just raised his hand slowly and
waved as they drove away.
Continued from page 33
the hall. He worked me over thoroughly and then called my
mother. I don't have to tell you what happened when my
mother arrived. I was assaulted five times and had not even
touched my lunch. Couldn't go to this type of school on an emp-
When I was eight, I did not know what the quality of educa-
tion meant. If I had known, I would have said: "ANYTHING
WOULD BE AN IMPROVEMENT ON THIS."
My day wasn't over yet. When my father came home, there
was a good chance that I might get stiffened again.
My mother sent me to my room. I looked at my head in the
mirror; it was much larger now than when I left for school in the
morning. I also noticed that I was developing scar tissue over
my eyes. I also decided to ask my mother to place me in a
school where the curriculum was less difficult.
Between beatings and time spent standing in the hall, there
was nothing left for study. I learned some things while standing
in the hall, like which nuns had bladder problems. But the most
important thing I learned while standing in the hall was that I
could really take a punch, and that alone helped me survive Our
Lady of the Multiple Orgasms.
Continued from page 7
his but chose instead to pay. Witnessing this unpatriotic act
and drawing on the strongly emphasized American doctrine of
"take as much as you can whenever you can," my companion
arrived at the obvious conclusion: "That woman is a fool," he
pronounced. A lesson well learned.
Then there is this business of claims that students are
graduating from high school as fuctional illiterates. This simply
isn't true. Oh, I admit these people may not be able to read, but
this in no way impairs their ability to function in American
society. After all, who wants Huckleberry Finn or Moby Dick or
today's headlines for that matter, floating around in one's
head, muddling thoughts in the middle of a hot Pac Man
match? Why, it would be a positive liability! I'd be willing to
bet that in a country such as Sweden with its so-called "model"
school system your average eighth grader couldn't score over
five thousand at Pac Man. Five thousand. That's sort of sad to
Lastly, thanks to our system of education the United States is
the world leader in the field of advanced partying, so important
in the light of world-wide economic chaos. According to U.S.
government reports the average sixth grader in America is now
•able to roll a quality marijuana joint in under forty-five
seconds, a remarkable "figure" which seems even more so
when compared with statistics from twenty years ago which
reveal that the average sixth grader didn't even know what
marijuana was, let alone how to roll it. This encouraging upsw-
ing in awareness of the everyday dynamics of drug abuse is by
no means limited to marijuana. Indeed, today's young people
are able to get higher, faster, on a tremendous assortment of
drugs — ranging from beer to LSD — than any generation
before them. How naive of the doomsayers to ignore the im-
mense strides being made in this area. By 1990 I wouldn't be
surprised if third graders could freebase coke with the best of
I could go on and on citing examples of how well America's
young people have absorbed the education imparted to them by
popular media, parents, schools, peers and society as a whole.
Suffice it to say that staple aspects of the American way of life
such as greed, selfishness, dishonesty, lust, hedonism, and the
callous disregard for the rest of the world are being taught and
learned, even embraced, with more commitment and en-
thusiasm than ever before. The quality of education on the
decline in America? Nonsense.
Continued from page 11
In the wake of this rash of Northampton incidents "Two les-
bians were raped - one by a group of men in a van - and a third
was beaten unconscious. Two of the victims reported that their
attackers made lesbian-hating statements during the assults.",
Innumerable instances- of more subtle condemnation and
discrimination abound, substantiating the point that
homophobia is alive and thriving. Until the fear and hatred of
lesbians and gay men is overcome, we must stand alert to the
possibility - - however slim - - that homophobia may again run
distastrously rampant. We must keep in mind what the conse-
quences of this hatred might be. For this reason, the history of
Nazi persecution of gays cannot be denied. History must serve
as a constant reminder: a reminder of the persecution of the
past, and a reminder of the violence that continues.
ITEM:k note in the April 8, 1983 issue of Gay Communi-
ty News reveals that "Exhibits recognizing the persecu-
tion of non-Jewish persons will (also) be included in a
museum dedicated to the Holocaust. ..The museum is
scheduled to open in 1987 in Washington,DC, and will
cost approximately $30 to $40 million."
Among the list of recognized victims will be gays.
1. Sherman, MartiniBent New York, Avon Books, 1979. "Bent" is a fictionalized
drama. For a factual account by a gay survivor of a Nazi prison camp see: Heger,
2. Heger, Heniz-.The Men With The Pink Triangle. Boston Alyson Publications,
1980 (page 13).
3. Rector, Frank: The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals. New York, Stein &
4. Rector, above (page 123).
5. Domenick, Tony: "Memorial to Holocaust Will 'Ignore' Gays." Gay Communi-
ty News, 15 July 1978.
6. "The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals," an article reviewing the book of
the same name (see note 3):New York Times, 10 May 1981 (section 7, page 20).
7. Clark, Jil: "Gay Man Bashed Near Bars."Gay Community News, 9 July 1983
8. Brudnoy, David: "The Missionary's Position on Sex." Reason magazine,
December 1982 (pages 3842).
9. Clark, Jil: "Northampton Lesbians Fight Hate Campaign." Gay Community
News, 12 February 1983.